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Publications

Rapid recovery for joint replacement

Bookmark and Share Virtua orthopaedic surgeons can now restore joint functionality with procedures that involve minimal pain and allow for rapid recovery. With new technology and surgical techniques, many patients can return to normal activities in just days rather than months. Hip resurfacing
"Pain radiated from the base of my spine for years; I thought it was a back problem related to physical activity," says 52-year-old Greg Rudegeair of Willingboro. "Then, I learned the pain was caused by my hip." His physician referred him to Gerald Hayken, MD, chief of orthopaedics at Virtua Memorial Hospital. As one of the few surgeons in the region who perform hip resurfacing, Dr. Hayken knew Rudegeair was a perfect candidate for hip resurfacing. In this procedure, Dr. Hayken affixes a metal cap onto the head of the thigh bone and a metal cup into the hip socket. "While long-term studies on the lifespan of a resurfaced hip don't exist," says Dr. Hayken, "the benefit is that it preserves the thigh bone, which enables a smooth total hip replacement should it be necessary in the future." If a patient with a total hip replacement needs a subsequent replacement because of wear and tear, a second surgery requires removal of the original artificial hip implant. That can damage the thigh bone that is connected to the implant, and cause the second hip replacement to be less successful than the first. "From the moment Dr. Hayken explained the procedure, I knew I was in the right hands," says Rudegeair. "I started walking the next day; I couldn't believe how good I felt." Same-day knee surgery
Suffering from degenerative joints, Philip Varner, DO, wanted surgery, but was concerned about a long recovery. That is, until he learned Scott Schoifet, MD, medical director of Virtua's Total Joint Program, was performing same-day minimally invasive knee replacement surgery. Performing same-day knee replacement is a major breakthrough. And, the science behind it is based on the more than 500 minimally invasive knee surgeries Dr. Schoifet performs annually. His clinical experience shows with proper pain management, patients can have a new, pain-free functional knee within 8 to 12 hours. "Patients who go home the same day are those who come into the procedure healthy and fit, and don't have pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. They also need to be comfortable on their pain medications, able to walk independently and able to manage stairs after the surgery." Dr. Schoifet is the only physician in the region doing same-day knee replacement. He says Dr. Varner was a perfect candidate. "Dr. Varner maintained an active lifestyle; he didn't let his condition restrict his activity." Dr. Varner was back to work in four days: "I refer a number of patients to Virtua because I know first-hand that they will receive excellent care."