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Patients can now go home just 24 hours after Royal Surrey joint replacements

Patients can now go home just 24 hours after Royal Surrey joint replacements

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Ollie Searle at 6:00am 14th July 2019.

A 68-year-old man has become one of the first in Surrey to go home from hospital the day after he underwent a knee replacement.

On average patients spend four to five days in hospital after undergoing a procedure, but Graham Lee was on his feet just hours after major surgery to replace his joint - all thanks to a new fast track procedure.

Carried out by the Royal Surrey's Orthopaedic Surgeon Kate Gill, it uses a local anaesthetic in the spine in combination with sedation to shorten recovery - crucially it does not leave patients feeling sick or nauseous.

At the end of the process, which also applies to hip replacements, a local anaesthetic mixture is injected into the tissues around the knee.

Mr Lee said:

"I faced the operation with trepidation and was very worried but she's done a fantastic job.

"I could not believe that I had to get up the same day I had the operation, or indeed that I was actually able to get up and walk around.

"The progress since then has been remarkable, after the first few days I hardly used the crutch at all and enjoyed a very active day trip to France five weeks later."

Patients with complex medical problems will not be able to leave hospital as quickly, but will still benefit from being mobile much quicker.

Miss Gill said:

“The surgery itself is one of the only bits of the fast track process which has not changed.

“I use the same procedure and the same implants to replace the worn out knee or hip.

“Prior to the operation patients are given carbohydrate loading drinks and allowed to drink water until two hours before surgery, which supports a quicker return of bowel function, less loss of muscle mass and faster recovery.

“The patients walk themselves to theatre and before and during the operation they are kept warm to reduce the risk of infection and blood clotting issues.

“In recovery patients are given a high calorie drink and once back on the ward they get dressed in their own clothes as soon as possible, which helps them get ready to meet the physiotherapy team.”

Since leaving hospital, Mr Lee has continued physiotherapy and has enjoyed getting back to gardening which he had been unable to do.

Mr Lee added:

"You have to put the effort in and do the exercises, but the physiotherapists have been fantastic.

"A lot of people fear this operation. I nearly postponed it, but now I wish I'd had it done earlier.

"Miss Gill has done a fantastic job - she's my hero, I can't praise her enough.

"Everyone at Royal Surrey has been fantastic, it's a real team effort.

"I want to get my other knee done and be able to get my bike cleaned up and ride with my grandson."

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