Q: What is the most common question you hear when a prospective patient arrives for a joint replacement consultation?
A: There generally isn’t one question, but more commonly, a group of questions that they ask. These include:
- How long does the procedure typically take? The procedures typically take less than one hour.
- How long does the recovery take? The full recovery to see maximal improvement is one year, but most patients are doing very well around six weeks.
- How long do joint replacements last? This is always a hard answer to give because each patient is different and has different demands/expectations, but conservatively speaking, most implants last 15 to 20 years before the plastic begins to wear out.
Q: How do I know if a joint replacement is the best treatment for me?
A: This requires a combination of three things:
- Your provider must obtain a good history of symptoms (pain, swelling, stiffness, etc.), how long they have been present for, and what treatments have already been tried that are no longer providing satisfactory relief.
- A good set of joint-specific x-rays to demonstrate the full extent and severity of arthritis must be obtained and analyzed
- Your provider will do a thorough physical exam to document and note the objective findings (stiffness, swelling, laxity of the joint, etc.).
Q: What led you to become one of the creators of the Moto Partial Knee System?
A: I have always been a very creative and artistic person. I was always very active in drawing, designing, and building things as a child, and still to this day, I do a lot of woodworking and design work. I have always enjoyed teaching as well and have been consulting/teaching other orthopedic surgeons for the better part of the past decade. I have also designed numerous surgical instruments and devices to help during surgery.
Q: When is a total joint replacement required?
A: We typically do not tell our patients when to get a joint replacement; rather, they will tell us when they are ready. Obviously, there needs to be end-stage arthritis on x-rays and failure of conservative treatments (medications, injections, attempts at weight loss, etc.), but patients typically know when the time is right because their quality of life has diminished significantly to the point where they have many more “bad days” than “good days” with their involved joint(s).
Q: What are the benefits of a minimally invasive (hip replacement) procedure?
A: Minimally Invasive Direct Anterior (DA) hip replacement surgery allows the surgeon to replace the hip joint without cutting any muscles or tendons. This leads to several advantages, including significantly less pain, a much quicker recovery, a more stable hip joint, excellent leg length restoration, and more accurate implant positioning. These lead many patients to forget that they even had a hip replacement around six to eight weeks.
The surgery is much more respectful of the patient’s native anatomy and much more elegant and gentle on the tissues than a traditional hip replacement, which cuts very large/major muscle groups and tendons. These traditional approaches then have more pain, more chance for instability or hip dislocation, leg length issues, and prolonged recovery due to weakness and muscles/tendons that have been unnecessarily cut.
Q: What constitutes a “same-day procedure?”
A: Same-Day or Outpatient Joint Replacement surgeries mean that the patient goes home the “same-day” as when the surgery occurred. At Whole Health, about 60% of our patients go home the same day as their surgery. These surgeries require a very experienced and committed team with extensive pre-op education of the patient and their family.
It is certainly not for all patients, but when implemented can have major advantages for the patients. Getting people home earlier prevents unnecessary exposure to germs/bacteria/viruses that are more common in a hospital setting. Patients are also generally more relaxed and comfortable at their own homes because of familiarity, and the family can often take care of them very effectively as they know the patient’s needs and desires better. In short, “There’s no place like home!”
Q: How does your philosophy influence the way you practice?
A: Coming from a family of teachers and educators, my primary focus outside of doing an exceptional surgery is to provide unparalleled education and realistic expectations to our patients prior to surgery. That part is key, as it leads to significantly improved outcomes. I take a tremendous amount of pride in what I do and treat each patient as if they were a close family member or friend. In short, I would not recommend anything to any of my patients that I wouldn’t recommend to my own parents.
Q: What are personal patient concierge services, and why do you feel they are important?
A: Personal Patient Concierges (PPCs) are the highly-trained medical assistants in our practice that help to navigate and educate our patients before and after surgery. They are the familiar face and name that our patients rely on if they have any questions or concerns both before and after surgery. They are the critical teammates and liaisons between the patients and the providers (surgeons/physician assistants).
Q: What’s something every patient should know before pursuing joint replacement?
A: Patients need to do their research and find a surgeon that they trust and respect. Whenever most people buy a product or service, they do a fair amount of research by reading customer reviews, reading about specific companies, and often relying on “word of mouth.” You need to find a surgeon that you trust, and that has an extensive amount of training and experience in their sub-specialty.
At Whole Health, we are not the “jack of all trades,” but we are the “masters” of a few surgeries because of the amount of them we perform. Experience matters, and so does a physician’s bedside manner. We pride ourselves on providing both.