Arrive in the Morning, Back Home in Just Hours

January 9, 2023 Providence News Team

When even standing for a few minutes became excruciating, Mark Beckman knew it was time for a hip replacement. So, he started researching hospital rankings, quality ratings and surgeons’ reputations—and one name kept coming up: Providence St. Jude Medical Center.

After having outpatient joint replacement on both hips, he says he understands why. “I did my homework and it paid off: It couldn’t have been a better experience,” says the 54-year-old father of two. ”The attention to detail and expertise were phenomenal.”

Mark is one of the hundreds of patients who have learned firsthand how same-day joint replacement is significantly changing care for deteriorating and painful joints—and why St. Jude is a national leader in accelerating recovery and elevating outcomes.

Less invasive surgical techniques, better pain management and advanced rehabilitation protocols have all played a role in transforming what was a three-day hospital stay into an outpatient procedure.

“We used today’s best evidence-based protocols to transform conventional approaches about what happens before and after surgery,” explains Stewart Shanfield, MD, the board-certified orthopedic surgeon who performed Mark’s hip replacements. “The result is: Patients are happier, do better and typically recover faster at home.”

A “multimodal” approach to pain management allows the hospital’s surgeons and anesthesiologists to target multiple pain pathways in the body, offering far better pain control with fewer side effects.

“Today we know so much more about how to prevent and minimize pain,” explains Shawn Solhpour, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive solutions to knee conditions. “The traditional approach of general anesthesia followed by narcotic pain relievers often delayed rehabilitation and recovery,” says Dr. Solhpour. “Instead of only targeting those pain receptors that respond to narcotics, we target every major type of pain receptor—before, during and after surgery.”

A combination of long-acting local and regional anesthesia, some of which is injected into the joint during surgery, creates a synergistic effect that more effectively stops pain while allowing patients to begin physical therapy within an hour of surgery ending—an approach shown to fast-track recovery.

At St. Jude, rehabilitation often begins before surgery—with an innovative approach called “prehab” to increase strength and improve recovery—and continues almost immediately after surgery. A series of home visits from St. Jude physical therapists typically start the next day.

“By continuously refining our therapy protocols to reflect new research and improvements, we have turned each step of recovery into a national best practice,” says Dr. Solhpour, who also leads St. Jude’s Surgery Department. The result: St. Jude patients exceed national averages and benchmarks in every measure.

Carefully matching the patient with the procedure—relatively healthy individuals without serious medical conditions—and turning patients into “experts” on maximizing their recovery are key. From comprehensive pre-op education and a unique digital app that surgeons use to communicate with patients to ongoing support from a joint replacement nurse navigator (every patient has her cellphone number), the result is better-prepared and confident patients.

Shortly after surgery, Mark walked with his children to an amusement park for the first time in years. “It was such a joy,” says the Irvine resident. “Dr. Shanfield is going to stay at the top of my Christmas list for a long time.”

Treating pain from arthritis or joint deformity often starts with physical therapy, weight loss, and other nonsurgical approaches. But if those are unsuccessful, talk to your St. Jude orthopedic surgeon about treatment options. To schedule an appointment, please call 714-626-8630.

Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top-performing orthopedic programs in the nation, St. Jude offers more than a dozen fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, including experts in hand and wrist, shoulder, hip, knee, and foot and ankle. Providence St. Jude is also one of an elite group of hospitals to earn recognition as a Center of Excellence in Joint Replacement by the Joint Commission.

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The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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