Swedish Medical Center Will Get You Back to Work in No Time

Swedish Rapid Recovery Outpatient Total Joint Program in Denver, Colorado

Busy entrepreneur recovers in the comfort of his home hours after hip replacement surgery.

Swedish Medical Center offers same-day hip replacement surgery through the Rapid Recovery Program.

As the owner of 16 companies, Stan Bullis, 52, is constantly on the move–traveling frequently and spending a lot of time on his feet. But a few years ago, this hectic lifestyle started to take its toll on his joints. He developed painful bone-on-bone arthritis and a leg-length discrepancy that interfered with his gait. Concerned about taking too much time away from work, Stan tried several non-surgical options. But eventually he reached the point where he couldn’t hide from his pain any longer. “I would be limping up the stairs to my office, and the pain would just sneak up on me. I knew I had to do something about it.”

Upon the recommendation of his chiropractor, Stan went to see John Schwappach, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Swedish Medical Center. At Stan’s first surgical consultation, Dr. Schwappach recommended he have a total hip replacement. “Because Stan is a young, active and healthy person who has arthritis, he was an ideal candidate for the total hip replacement.”

With more than 300,000 procedures done every year in the US, total hip replacement surgery is an increasingly common procedure. By removing the patient’s diseased ball and socket joint and replacing it with an artificial socket, the surgery aims to restore mobility and relieve arthritic pain.

Although he looked forward to living with a pain-free hip, Stan felt uneasy about undergoing a major surgical procedure and taking an extended time off work. Fortunately, Stan’s good health made him an excellent candidate for the Swedish Rapid Recovery Outpatient Total Joint Program. This program discharges hip and knee replacement patients on the same day as their surgery. To qualify for the program, patients need to be healthy, medically stable and have no major pain issues following their surgery.  In addition, patients must satisfy a list of post-operative criteria from anesthesia, physical therapy and the operating surgeon before they are cleared for discharge.  Well over 95 percent of motivated patients will meet these criteria and have the opportunity to recover at home.

According to Dr. Schwappach, “Patients often prefer to recover at home where they are more comfortable, they sleep better, and research shows the risk of infection is reduced with a shorter hospital stay.”

On the morning of his surgery, Stan checked in to Swedish Medical Center’s Advanced Joint Replacement Program where his surgery was performed by a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic specialists. By noon, Stan was already back on his feet.

“By 6pm I was walking out of the hospital. I walked out with less pain than I had when I entered that same day,” said Stan. His brief recovery included using a cane for the first few days after surgery.

To ensure optimum recovery at home, Rapid Recovery patients are provided with customized rehabilitation exercises developed by their physical therapist, who will also check in on them a few times once they are home. In terms of pain management, the patient receives a multimodal pain regimen which aims to control pain while minimizing narcotic use. Pain control mechanisms include nerve blocks, local anesthetics, and non-narotic pain medications.

Soon after surgery, Stan reached his first milestone. He played 18 holes of golf with no pain in his leg. In addition, he now could easily climb the stairs at his office. He explains, “Looking back, I wouldn’t have waited so long to have the surgery. I was a bit fearful of what could happen, and I was reluctant to take too much time off work. But everything worked out great, and now I look forward to having the same procedure done on my other hip later this year.”

Swedish Medical Center is a leader in joint replacement and continues to make advancements that allow patients to return to full function faster and more effectively. In 2018 five percent of the hospital’s total joint replacements were part of the rapid recovery program. Given the success of the protocol and evolving pain management and surgical strategies, we anticipate a large growth in successful outpatient joint procedures.

For more information, please visit swedishhospital.com

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