Stop the Suffering. Many Orthopedic Fixes are Now Minimally-Invasive.
January 22, 2018
You don’t want to see the orthopedic specialist because you’re convinced you’ll need surgery. So you lose sleep, limp more each day and gain weight because you’re no longer active.
Keep reading – this article’s for you.
“We’ve made huge strides in orthopedics in just the last few years,” said CHI Health Orthopedic Surgeon Sam Dubrow, MD. “Many procedures are now minimally-invasive. You don’t spend time in the hospital. You recover quickly. And you get back to your life much sooner.”
“If you’re having pain it’s very important that you get a diagnosis,” said Clifford Kent Boese, MD, of Miller Orthopedic Specialists. Dr. Boese has practiced at CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs for over 23 years and has been Medical Director for Orthopedic Services there for over 10. He explained that the problem could be arthritis, a stress fracture, even a tumor. “After a diagnosis, our first course of action will always be non-surgical,” he said. “For example, we’ll try to get as many miles as we can out of a knee before we replace it.”
Only Hospital in Region to Have Certification
In case you do need orthopedic surgery, CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs is among the best. In 2017, the hospital earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement. “The distinguishing certification is a very big deal,” said Dr. Boese. “It’s hard to get and no one else around here has it.”
Dr. Boese has done some 6,000 total hip and knee replacements in the last 24 years and the number of patients needing them is expected to skyrocket with an aging population. The rush to replace should continue as Medicare begins covering replacements being done outpatient this year.
“They (the outpatient procedures) are possible because of newer, less-invasive surgical techniques,” Dr. Boese said. “And we have better pain control during and after the procedure. The patient can go home within hours.”
With the number of total hip and knee replacements expected to quadruple from 700,000 a year now to 2.8 million in 2030, Mercy doctors are gearing up. A new fellowship-trained joint specialist joins the practice later this year.
Mercy also has the highest rating from Blue Cross Blue Shield, has been ranked number one in the state for two years in a row and has the lowest cost in the system for hip and knee replacement surgeries. Satisfaction for pain control has been consistently in the top 10 percent in the nation.
“You want to go to the providers who are recognized as the best and to the hospital with the most advanced certification,” said Mercy President Marie Knedler.
Experts in Shoulder Replacements and More
Experts at Mercy are also leading the way in other procedures. Dr. Dubrow, for example, performs shoulder replacements. “We use the shoulder joint and its associated muscles every day as we push, pull and lift,” he said. “Most of our daily functions require these motions that only a highly mobile joint like the shoulder can provide. We often only realize how much we rely on our shoulders when we suffer pain or wear and tear related to age.”
Pain relief is his primary goal, he said, “with a secondary benefit of restoring motion, strength and function. Many patients return to the sports they love like tennis, golf and swimming.”
Dr. Dubrow performs over 100 shoulder replacements a year and is fellowship-trained in shoulder surgery. “Overall patient satisfaction from shoulder replacement is greater than 90% and can significantly improve a patient’s everyday life,” he said. Dr. Dubrow is so familiar with and accomplished in the procedure that he teaches the technique to other orthopedic surgeons across the country.
Improving Outcomes, Lowering Costs
Mercy also is nationally recognized for its Bundle Payment for Care Improvement initiative in orthopedics. This is where several evidence-based practices are performed together, improving patient outcomes and lowering costs.
Mercy’s Nurse Navigator Christy Wagner, BSN, RN, said discharge planning related to the “bundling” means 70 to 80% of patients go directly to their homes, compared with 30 to 40% before.
“Plus our length of stay has definitely trended down, so we’re able to get patients home a lot sooner than we used to just by spending a lot more time with them beforehand and figuring out all the barriers,” Wagner said. “The patients love it — and they love that we’re calling them when they get home and that they can call us.”
Comprehensive Orthopedic Care
Orthopedic services at Mercy include sports medicine, foot and ankle, spine surgery, fracture care and general orthopedics as well as specialists in total joint replacement of the hip, knee and shoulder. Two of the only hand surgery specialists in the region have microsurgery expertise to offer reimplantation of fingers and thumbs, as well as other complex hand and wrist reconstruction in both children and adults.