Rapid Recovery Surgery
Rapid recovery surgery is a philosophy that incorporates anaesthesia, local infiltration analgesia drugs injected around the joint during the operation, medications, mechanics and mindset to achieve the fastest recovery possible. Although not an instant recovery, we continue to strive towards improved outcomes for our patients. Rapid recovery techniques assist in reducing the length of hospital stay, facilitate a faster return to normal activity, and reducing the risk of complications.
Patient satisfaction after joint replacement surgery requires appropriate pre-operative expectations, adequate pain management, and a positive hospital experience. A common misconception amongst patients, and their families, is that patients undergoing joint replacements need to be in hospital for a week, and often need rehabilitation.
With education and implementation of these cutting edge techniques, the majority of patients can achieve an earlier discharge resulting in better outcomes. Improved mobilisation reduces the risk of blood clots, chest and other infections.
Better mobilisation reduces the need for potent blood thinners, reducing the risk of bleeding and blood transfusion. For those patients who are medically unstable or frail, they too can benefit from the techniques with less pain, less complications, and potentially a shorter length of stay in hospital. For the fit and young patients, less than 24 hours in hospital is common.
The philosophy of Rapid Recovery Surgery also extends to other surgery including injury management. Ankle fractures were historically treated with the patient using crutches for six weeks before weight bearing was permitted. With the introduction of new techniques, weight bearing can commence once the wounds have healed (about two weeks) and the joint can be exercised through a range of movement. At six weeks the majority of injuries can be “ready to go”.
Achilles ruptures, wrist fractures, shoulder surgery, and virtually all orthopaedic treatments benefit from this approach.