The knee is one of the most frequently impacted joints. A total knee procedure involves replacing the worn out bone and cartilage sections of the knee in all three compartments. Recovery and pain management remain some of the biggest challenges of total knee arthroplasty (TKA). It’s not unusual for patients to still be struggling to walk normally three months after a total knee replacement treatment. And the number one reason for readmission post-op is nausea and disorientation resulting from powerful pain meds.
Using a blend of kinetic balancing and a new approach to pain protocols, Swann, one of the top knee replacement surgeons in Denver is realizing some truly staggering results with knee replacement:
- Outpatient procedure with zero time in a hospital
- Patients go home the same day
- Most patients have full range of motion two weeks post-op
- Most are pain free in two weeks
How is this achieved? The first has to do with kinetically balancing the knee when cutting through the bones to mimic the patient’s natural shape. Dr. Swann refers this as really a knee resurfacing versus actually changing the natural alignment. Historically, surgeons made a flat cut in the bone to accommodate the plastic and metal of the artificial joint. By altering their anatomy, doctors made patients re-learn how to walk. In making his bone cuts, Swann, working on total knee replacement treatments in South Denver focuses on replacing the areas with wear and tear and keeps everything else natural.
The other tactic is pain control management during and after the surgery itself. Swann installs a long-acting pump in the thigh to release medication that keeps their knee completely numb for three days. He also gives medication with no narcotic pathway. After a few days the pump is removed by a nurse, and the patient switches to regular over-the-counter painkillers. In fact after looking at over 500 joint replacements done, Dr. Swann’s retrospective study showed 73% of his patients took less than 2 of the narcotic pills during their recovery.
By keeping the replacement knee as close as possible to the knee you had before the arthritic condition started, and keeping narcotics to a minimum, Dr. Swann is setting a new standard for post-surgery recovery.