Patients needing knee replacements are now able to have surgery and get home all in the same day, thanks to innovative changes in Lincolnshire’s hospitals.
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Prasad Antapur and his team have pioneered new ways of working to make day case knee surgery possible for patients at Grantham and District Hospital.
Mr Antapur said: “Previously, knee replacement surgery would usually require a hospital stay of around three days, particularly because of issues with pain, joint mobility and recovery. Enhanced recovery and getting patients mobile and pain-free as soon as possible is something I am very enthusiastic about.
“But introducing advance physiotherapy support, better pain relief and faster recovery is getting patients home quicker.”
The first patient to have a knee replacement as a day case in Lincolnshire was Andrea Rodda, who had the surgery on New Year’s Eve.
Andrea, 55, from near Gainsborough, thanked Mr Antapur and staff at the hospital and says she is looking forward to going on long walks with her Jack Russell Alfie.
Andrea said: “The pain in my knee stems back to an accident I had 20 years ago when I worked at Gatwick Airport and was hit by a passenger’s trolley full of bags. I had an operation at the time and over the years my knee has just got worse. It got to a point there was no cartilage left, it was literally bone rubbing on bone and causing me so much pain.
“I jumped at the chance to have day surgery rather than a one or two night stay in hospital which is what I was expecting. I am already well on the road to recovery and cannot thank Mr Antapur and the team enough for what they have done.
“I have been able to recover at home and have been busy doing all of my exercises. I can’t wait to take the dog out for a long walk as this has not been possible up until now.”
Mr Antapur said that patients are delighted with getting home so quickly.
“We all know that hospital is not the best place to be for your recovery. Your own bed and your own surroundings are always more comfortable.
“We have worked with physiotherapists and anaesthetists to make small tweaks to how we work to speed up the process and get people home sooner, and so far it’s gone really well.”
The transfer home is made possible thanks to patients seeing physiotherapists in advance of their surgery, so that they already know what to expect and what exercises they will need to do.
It is also down to the use of modern anaesthetics, which are short-acting and so wear off quicker, enabling patients to start their recovery sooner.
“Pain is often the big issue for knee replacement patients, and advances in medicines have meant that we now have better pain killers that can help people to get mobile sooner,” said Mr Antapur.
“The other little trick is giving patients a sugary drink just before surgery. This takes effect so that they feel more lively when they wake up, giving them a good head start on recovery.”
Mr Antapur believes that day case knee surgery will now become the ‘norm’ for most regular knee replacements carried out at Grantham, with more complex cases carried out at Lincoln County Hospital.