Promoting the Healing Process Following Joint Replacement
Vence, DPT, ATRIC
With each passing year we learn more about how bodies heal and we develop
new ways to promote that process. In the realm of joint replacement surgery,
doctors and physical therapists have developed a new regimen of pre- and
post-operative patient care that has significantly improved clinical outcomes.
A number of important advances have contributed to this new approach to
care. Joint replacement surgery is safer and easier for patients to endure due
in large part to new approaches in surgical anesthesia and improved joint
prostheses. In addition, better post-operative pain control makes it easier for
patients to move around following surgery. These developments are critical
because studies confirm that improved mobility immediately following joint
surgery reduces recovery time.
Local specialists in orthopedic surgery, physical medicine, and physical
therapy have collaborated in the development of a unified patient-care program
for people with joint pain. By working together, we educate people in the
community about joint pain and the options for treating it. This program, which
we call "Joint Solutions," is multidisciplinary in nature and
includes a comprehensive educational component about arthritis and joint
Joint Solutions health-care professionals from Cayuga Medical
Center present regularly scheduled free community information seminars on joint pain.
We attract, among others, people who are suffering with hip or knee pain. We
know, from patient histories, that there are many people suffering with knee
and hip pain who have not fully explored all of their treatment options-and who
believe there is nothing they can do about their joint pain.
The Joint Solutions community seminars focus on patient education. Four
board-certified orthopedic surgeons are participating in Joint Solutions, all
of whom have considerable experience in diagnosing and treating the various
causes of joint pain. Contact information for these physicians is issued to you
at the seminar.
If the outcome of your physician evaluation indicates joint replacement
surgery, the staff at your orthopedist’s office will help you enroll in
pre-operative classes through the Joint Solutions program. These classes
include comprehensive information about joint replacement surgery and
pre-operative exercises to prepare you for the operation. Clinical studies have
proven that patients who perform exercise to increase their strength and
flexibility prior to surgery have a significantly faster and more satisfactory
Following joint replacement surgery at Cayuga Medical
Center, you will recover
in the joint care area of the hospital. Post-operative care in the Joint Care
Center promotes wellness.
Patients undergoing joint surgery are typically people who are not sick: they
are hospitalized only because they have elected to have joint replacement
surgery to relieve crippling chronic joint pain.
In this environment of wellness, people recovering from joint replacement
surgery dress in street clothes (not hospital gowns); they attend classes
together; share meals together; and encourage each other to reach their
post-operative goals. Many patients also have personal coaches (a family member
or close friend), to help them in these first stages of recovery. The
camaraderie among patients is a source of motivation and the impact on healing
Patient education plays a very important role and every patient in the Joint
Solutions Program has a comprehensive manual describing medication, exercise,
and the activities and goals of each post-operative day. This is a very
pro-active approach to care, with the shared goal of helping patients regain
joint function and mobility as quickly as possible so they can return to normal
daily activities. The sooner people begin moving following surgery, the better
able they are to model the healing tissue and increase range of motion.
Many people who come to the Joint Solutions seminars discover, during
physician follow-up, that their hip and knee pain can be helped with medication
and exercise. Others benefit from minimally invasive joint arthroscopy to
smooth rough surfaces inside the painful joint. For those people who can
benefit from joint replacement, this program provides information to help in
the decision-making process.
Vence is a physical therapist on staff at Cayuga Medical
Center and is manager of
the Joint Solutions Program. She holds a doctor of physical therapy degree from