Total Joint Replacement Helps Patients Move Like Themselves Again

March 12, 2010

Unlike a generation ago, people today are unwilling to let joint pain slow them down, no matter what their age. The Total Joint Replacement program at Floyd Memorial is growing in size and capabilities to help  people with damaged joints get back to doing the things they love.

“The first step in trying to control knee and hip pain is decreased activity, anti-inflammatory medications and injections. If patients have tried these, and it hasn’t helped, they should talk to their orthopedic surgeon about whether total joint replacement surgery is the best option for them. People ask me how they’ll know when it’s time, and I say, ‘When it gets painful enough, you’ll know.’”

John Conner, MD
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon

When two or more bones are connected by thick tissues, they form a joint. The bone ends of a joint are  covered by a smooth layer called cartilage. Normal cartilage allows for nearly frictionless, pain-free movement. But damaged cartilage can cause pain so severe that a person will avoid using the joint, weakening the surrounding muscles and making movement even more difficult. Joint replacement involves removing the arthritic or damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial joint.

As board certified Orthopedic Surgeon John Conner, MD, explained, “The number of patients requesting joint replacement at Floyd Memorial is continuing to rise as the population ages and people are living longer. “People are no longer willing to be immobilized for the last 10 or 15 years of their lives. It is not uncommon for us to perform total joint replacements on people in their 80s and 90s.”

According to board certified Orthopedic Surgeon Edward Bell, MD, “While most patients are over 65, a significant number of younger people seek joint replacement because of pain caused by arthritis, genetics or injury. The best candidates for surgery are those with healthy hearts and lungs who are at a healthy weight and motivated to do well.”

Recent Implant and Technique Advancements Yield Excellent Results

Dr. Conner explained, “There are more options for implants and bearings than ever before. Formerly, the materials were mainly metal on plastic. Now, in an arthritic knee, the damaged ends of the bones and cartilage are replaced with plastic, metal or ceramic surfaces that are shaped to restore movement. In an arthritic hip, the damaged ball is replaced by a metal ball and stem fitted into the femur. Aplastic socket replaces the damaged one in the pelvis. The plastic materials are durable and wear-resistant. Overall, we get a better, more comfortable outcome.”

Dr. Aniefiok Uyoe, a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon, is the newest physician to provide total knee and hip replacements at the Hospital. He noted that new surgical techniques are improving the prospects for those needing joint replacement. “At Floyd Memorial, I will be able to perform a new anterior-approach technique for total hip replacement.

The surgeon approaches from the front rather than the side and is able to replace the hip without cutting muscles. It reduces post-op pain and allows for a quicker recovery. Patients have less pain, go home earlier and walk earlier. However, while this approach has its benefits, not everyone is a candidate, including heavier patients, those who have had previous hip surgeries and those whose bones have a shape not compatible with the replacement.”

Risks and Results

Like any surgery, there are risks involved with total joint replacement. Although rare, there is a chance of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot). In addition, as with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. However, according to Dr. Uyoe, the team at Floyd Memorial takes extreme precautions to avoid the possibility of infection.

“We have checks and balances to prevent infection from before you enter the operating room to while you’re in the operating room to when you’re in recovery. It is as sterile an environment as possible. We wear a self-contained apparatus that looks somewhat like a space suit, with an internal air blower so it’s comfortable. Even if someone coughs or sneezes, the germs are contained.”

“Total joint replacement surgery has really come a long way. 20 years ago, it was common for patients to stay in the hospital for as long as two weeks after surgery. Today the average stay is three days and patients are out of bed and working on mobility the day of surgery.”

Edward Bell, MD
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon

Results from total knee and hip joint replacement varies among patients, depending on their condition before surgery,their willingness to follow the doctor’s instructions, their commitment to physical therapy and other factors. However, most will use a walker for one or two weeks and be fairly comfortable when walking and engaging in low impact activities such as golf at around six weeks.Education is also key. For example, it is important for hip replacement patients to learn what precautions to take to avoid dislocating the hip.

Caring for Patients Before, During and After Their Stay

At Floyd Memorial, total joint replacement patients receive a continuum of care that begins long before they enter the hospital. First, patients attend a one-on-one learning session called Total Tuesday with Kayla Cook, RN, coordinator of the total joint replacement program. She encourages them to bring along a coach, such as a friend or family member to learn what to expect and how to be an active participant in their care. They also meet with a physical therapist so they understand the critical importance of physical therapy and what they must do to achieve the best outcome.

Once admitted for surgery, patients are taken to a new unit of the hospital with private rooms in which their coach can spend the night with them if they wish. Patients are usually up out of bed and moving the night of their surgery, which promotes quicker recovery. The average stay is three days and after discharge, patients continue physical therapy and Cook continues follow-up care with regularly scheduled calls and letters.

This continuum of care – along with consistently strong surgical outcomes and other rigorous performance measures – is one reason Blue Cross Blue Shield recently awarded the Floyd Memorial Total Joint Replacement program Blue Distinction status. This designation is awarded to programs that have demonstrated expertise in the delivery of quality specialty care.

Floyd Memorial Orthopedic Group Welcomes Dr. Aniefiok Uyoe

“I think it’s important that we take time to explain the total joint replacement process in simple, easy to understand terms. If patients understand, it helps reduce anxiety, and when a person has a better understanding of what’s going on, it ultimately yields a better result.”

Aniefiok Uyoe, MD
Board Certified, Fellowship
Trained Orthopedic Surgeon
Floyd Memorial Orthopedic Group

Aniefiok Uyoe, MD, a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon, joined the Floyd Memorial Orthopedic Group on March 1, 2010.

A California native, Dr. Uyoe lived in Nigeria for eight years before returning to the United States, eventually entering the field of medicine. During medical school, an impromptu invitation to assist an orthopedic surgeon with a trauma case turned into a personal passion for adult reconstructive orthopedic surgery.

Dr. Uyoe received his fellowship training from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he also received the Leonard Marmor Surgical Arthritis Foundation Outstanding Resident Award, given by the attending surgeons. Dr. Uyoe earned his medical degree from Michigan State University in 2001 and completed his residency at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC. Dr. Uyoe practiced at the Willis-Knighton Health System in Bossier City, Louisiana, before joining Floyd Memorial Orthopedic Group.

Free Total Joint Replacement Seminars

Learn about advanced treatments that may offer dramatic relief of your knee or hip pain. A Floyd Memorial orthopedic surgeon, nurse and physical therapist will discuss medications, exercise and total joint replacement surgery on April 27 and May 18, from 6 to 7 p.m. in the hospital’s Paris Health Education Center.

actionPlease register by calling 1-800-4-SOURCE or register online at www.floydmemorial.com/events/.