Knee replacements now done as outpatient procedures

Published: Nov. 6, 2015 at 7:58 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 6, 2015 at 8:11 PM EST
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CHARDON, OH (WOIO) - Knee replacement surgery and recovery is traditionally a long and painful process. But a local clinic is approaching the procedure much differently with an outpatient option that is radically changing the patient's experience.

Mike Gr antham's bum knee was affecting every aspect of his life.

"I couldn't ride in a car, had trouble sleeping. It would lock up on me. I only had about 15 degrees of bend in it," he said.

But the idea of spending several days in the hospital made the 59-year-old from Leroy Township even more uncomfortable. So, he elected to have a total knee replacement as an outpatient procedure.

Dr. Greg Sarkisian, of Precision Orthopaedic Specialties in Chardon, says they do extensive pre-op education to prepare patients to handle their rehab at home, and keep the incisions small, so as not to violate the muscles and tendons.

"The anesthesia is a big part of this, as well. The way that the leg can be numbed, but still have motor control, so that people can walk and not feel that post-operative pain is a big deal," explained Sarkisian.

"I was driving at three weeks and coming up here for therapy, without any kind of crutches. I think I used the crutches for the first week, week and a half," said Gr antham.

Now, less than six months post-op, the avid outdoorsman and a driver by trade, is back to doing his favorite things, pain free.

According to Sarkisian, this new approach represents tens of thousands of dollars in savings to hospitals, insurance companies, and patients, especially the uninsured.

"There are going to be a lot more outpatient total knee replacements done probably. I would vet at least half of them within five years can be outpatient," said Sarkisian.

Dr. Sarkisian says good candidates are otherwise medially healthy, in good shape, and motivated to do their rehab at home. Not all insurance companies cover outpatient knee replacements right now, but he expects more to do so in the coming year.

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