Joint replacement is among the most common surgeries in the U.S., with a million procedures performed annually. That number is expected to grow exponentially in the next two decades—with the number of knee replacement surgeries performed each year alone estimated to reach 3.5 million by 2030.
Among these surgeries will be a growing number of simultaneous and staged bilateral joint replacement surgeries—which is fast becoming today’s preferred choice for many men and women. But bilateral joint replacement comes with some special considerations during post-surgery rehabilitation—a challenge the MedStar NRH Inpatient Orthopaedic Program is especially trained to meet.
“Our program team provides rehabilitation services to more than 200 joint replacement patients a year—and that includes both bilateral replacements, as well as an increasing number of revision surgeries. In fact, as patients live longer revision surgery will become more commonplace. By 2030, it’s expected that 190,000 knee replacement revision surgeries will be performed yearly,” says Robert Bunning, MD, clinical director of the program.
Comprehensive Care for Complex Cases
“We have the level of experience that is invaluable for patients—especially those whose recovery is more complex because of chronic health conditions. This high level of skill is particularly important to promote the fullest possible recovery from bilateral joint replacement,” he adds.
“Because we take an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to treatment, we’re very good at managing those chronic health problems—as well as preventing the most serious complications including hip dislocation, blood clots and bowel and bladder issues,” Dr. Bunning says.
“Our team members are sub-specialty therapists with tremendous skill and they have functioned smoothly together for many years. Quite a few of us have worked together for decades.”
While not all patients require inpatient rehabilitation following joint replacement, those undergoing bilateral surgery can benefit from this type of intense care. Patients will spend a minimum of three hours-a-day in therapy during the average week-long stay.
Interdisciplinary Team of Orthopaedic Experts
“The benefit of our inpatient treatment program is our patients’ access to multiple rehab professionals who take an integrated team approach and 24-houra-day coverage to diagnosis and manage any medical issues,” says Sherry Mumma, PT, DPT, ATP/SMS.“We are taking care of the whole patient with a team of
“We are taking care of the whole patient with a team of orthopaedic experts including physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, case managers, recreation therapists, nutritionists and social workers,” she explains.
“Our goal is to maximize function and independence so patients will be safe in their home environment. To reach that goal, we work to increase range of motion, strength and endurance,” she adds.
“We understand that recovery from bilateral joint replacement is complex,” says Jennifer Offutt, OT. “So we work collaboratively on the physical, psychological and pharmacological elements of recovery. That includes building confidence because most patients experience fear of falling, of movement and of pain.”
“The team is very cognizant of the importance of controlling pain and promoting rest to help patients engage in therapy."
“Our treatment plan also includes family training, evaluation of patients’ equipment needs—and elimination of barriers they may face in their homes,” Mumma adds. The result is outcomes that exceed national benchmarks.
“We work hand-in-hand with orthopaedic surgeons at a number of facilities such as the Hospital for Special Surgery and with MedStar Health orthopaedic surgeons including Drs. James Tozzi, Evan Argintar, Savyasachi Thakkar, Brian Evans and Mark Zawadsky,” says Dr. Bunning. “These are collegial relationships that truly benefit our patients.
Written by Emily Turk.
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