More and more people are turning to surgeons to resolve hip and knee pains that do not respond to non-invasive therapies. The intervention of prostheses, or joint replacement, is decisive, but a large number of patients renounce it for fear of long recovery times after surgery.
The situation is not always so long and at Humanitas it is possible to get out of bed within a few hours of surgery and start walking again immediately.
We talk about this topic with Dr. Antonella Saponara and Dr. Marco Parente, physiotherapists of the Humanitas Physiotherapy Service, directed by Professor Roberto Gatti.
Why is it necessary to intervene on the hips and knees?
The integrity of the joints allows us to walk, sit, keep an upright position and carry out daily activities without feeling pain. However, we must consider that, while walking, at every step the whole body weight and muscle activity stimulate the joints of the lower limbs with a load of a few quintals. It is not so strange that, in old age, these joints can show degenerative signs and that sometimes it becomes necessary to replace them.
Until a few years ago, hip or knee joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty) involved long periods of staying in bed and hospitalization. All this has now changed radically, thanks to the introduction of the Fast Track approach.
What is Fast Track?
Fast Track, literally fast recovery path, was born more than twenty years ago in the field of abdominal surgery, spreading in the following years also in other surgical specialties. Among the first to introduce it in the orthopedic field, there are clinics in Northern Europe and the United States and is currently spreading rapidly in the most advanced clinical institutions around the world.
The advantages of Fast Track in Humanitas
In the clinical reality of Humanitas it is possible, thanks to the integrated work of surgeons, anesthetists, physiotherapists and nurses, to reach the erect station a few hours after the operation of arthroplasty and be autonomous by the end of the first post-operative day.
“A few hours after surgery, the physiotherapist assesses the sensory-motor recovery and the orthopedist checks the surgical site and the drainage. Once the situation has been assessed positively by both figures, the patient is facilitated to stand and, when seated, reaches the upright station and walks with the help of a walker.
Thanks to the collaboration between the medical, physiotherapy and nursing teams, it has been possible to organize a course of treatment that begins before the operation and continues until discharge. Currently, most of our patients achieve autonomy in the 24 hours following the operation, being able to return home a few days after the surgery,” explain the physiotherapists.