Patient Jane Smith* had been suffering with knee pain as a result of arthritis for years. After cortisone injections and other pain management techniques were ineffective in treating Jane, her doctor, Dr. Eickmann, determined Jane was a candidate for a knee replacement at The Surgery Center at Lutheran instead of the hospital. Jane’s procedure could be appropriately performed at The Surgery Center at Lutheran due to her overall good health; she had no risk factors like sleep apnea or cardiovascular issues. Dr. Eickmann explained that he preferred to perform total knee replacements at the ambulatory surgery center due to its lower infection rates, significantly lower hospital-acquired infection risks, and lower costs for patients. Patients were also able to recover from surgery in the comfort of their own homes. Before Jane and Dr. Eickmann decided on a course of action, Jane met with Erica, a Physician Assistant at Cornerstone Orthopedics, for a personal total joint class. This one-on-one appointment helped Jane understand the surgery and the recovery process. The total joints class included an appointment with Dan, a physical therapist who assessed Jane for possible adaptations like crutches or a walker, and any other home medical devices that may be necessary. Erica and Dan worked with Jane on how she would need to prepare for her total knee replacement.
Jane arrived two hours before her scheduled surgery for pre-operative preparation including placement of her IV and discussions with both Dr. Eickmann and her anesthesiologist. Jane received spinal anesthesia during her surgery. Additional pain medication was injected during surgery to the areas that would otherwise produce pain. Jane’s stay at the surgery center was about 7 hours (average patient stay is between 6-8 hours). She was able to sit up and talk with her family before leaving. Jane and her family appreciated the personalized attention she received from the staff at The Surgery Center at Lutheran. Before she was discharged from The Surgery Center at Lutheran, her physical therapist, Dan reviewed her exercises, walking with a walker and her home health plan with both Jane and her family.
The day after surgery, Jaime, Dr. Eickmann’s Medical Assistant, called Jane to see how she was feeling; she was in less pain the day after surgery then the day before. Jane went to physical therapy twice in the week following surgery and she need crutches for the first week. Fifteen days after surgery, Jane and Erica met to check the surgical incision (wound check) and assess Jane’s ability to safely resume driving.
Six weeks after surgery, Jane had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Eickmann to discuss how she was feeling; she was progressing well and returned to work.
*Name has been changed to protect the patient