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Knee surgery and home within 23 hours

Patients who previously would have spent up to ten days in hospital for a partial knee replacement are now undergoing their surgery and being discharged within 23 hours.

This new revolutionary way of providing certain orthopaedic procedures is being trialled by consultant orthopaedic surgeons in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and is being seen as the way forward for patients who meet the criteria.

Under the new way of working, the partial knee replacement is offered on a day case basis to patients affected by arthritis in a single joint, who are in good health and have good social support.

The surgery is performed in the dedicated day surgery unit at New Stobhill Hospital which is ideally positioned to deliver this procedure, allowing an efficient journey of care to be provided, separate from unscheduled care pressures.

Mark Blyth, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon is one of the consultants involved. He explained: “There is good evidence that patients recovery better at home following knee replacement surgery.

“Advances in anaesthesia over the last few years have improved pain relief following surgery such that we are in a position to send patients home much more quickly than we did in the past.

“For partial knee replacements we have managed to establish next day discharge as the norm, and aim to send patients home the same day as they have their operation early next year.

“The same approach is possible for total knee and hip replacements and we will be looking at these procedures in the near future.”

David Halcrow underwent his partial knee replacement under Mr Blyth in November and was home the next morning.

David was referred to Dr Mark Blyth at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and was one of 20 patients in a trial group to have a spring fitted in his knee to absorb around 30% of the weight burden placed on the knee.

This year he was offered the opportunity to have a partial knee replacement, but with one major selling point: he’d be in and out of hospital within 23 hours.

David said: “When I told people I’d be getting a partial knee replacement and be in hospital for less than a day everyone told me I was wrong.

“I had the spring removed and then five weeks later went in to Stobhill Hospital on a Wednesday and was back out with a new knee by the lunchtime the following day.

“The operation was done at 9am; I was back in my room by 11.30am; saw the physio that afternoon; and was up and on my feet within an hour.

“I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever. I had a cannula fitted to the knee which released anaesthetic into the knee at regulated intervals for 12 hours. The anaesthetist fed the line through my thigh and we watched its progress as he fed it down to my knee. After the 12 hours the line was simply unclipped and taken out.

“It made a huge difference mentally knowing I’d be in and out in less than a day. All the staff were great from Dr Blyth, his PA and the anaesthetist to the staff in the Glasgow Royal and Stobhill. They were all first class, but it feels so much better being able to recover at home rather than spend a week in hospital.

“I’d absolutely recommend the procedure without hesitation. The knee feels so much better and being able to recuperate at home so soon is brilliant. I’m doing the exercises the physio gave me daily and looking forward to get back out walking the dog.”