Medical Minute 3-16: Knee Replacement = Pain Replacement

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

Deborah Boise has to clean her apartment pronto. Of course, her pesky right knee kept her from sprucing up things in the first place.

"Years ago, I decided to take karate and Jujitsu when I was in my forties," she said.

Boise says the strain from that and arthritis meant she needed a new one. More than 700,000 people line up for knee replacements each year. But hospital recovery takes time -- in part due to the narcotic pain meds used in surgery.

"But they cause lots of other problems: nausea, confusion, patient couldn't remember what they did in therapy the day before," said Hugh Morris, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon at the Florida Hospital.

So the Florida Hospital team led by Doctor Hugh Morris perfected a new surgery technique. Surgeons place a femoral nerve block high in the thigh. This way, non-narcotic meds can be used to numb the limb and keep it that way for two days after surgery. The result: Up to a 95-percent reduction in post-op pain.

"Because their pain is controlled so much better, they can do so much more with their physical therapy much earlier."

The new method means physical therapy that could take up to six months now may only take six weeks. Deborah knows. She got her left knee replaced years ago using the old method.
It sure makes cleaning all this up easier.

"I'm very pleased," she said.

For more information on other series produced by Ivanhoe Broadcast News contact John Cherry at (407) 691-1500, jcherry@ivanhoe.com.


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