Changes in Knee and Hip Replacement Surgery

Dr. Christopher Selgrath, Orthopedic Surgeon at Nazareth Hospital

If you're putting off getting your knee or hip replaced because you're afraid of the pain, there's now no need to worry. Dr. Christopher Selgrath, an orthopedic surgeon at Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia,  says the surgery has changed dramatically since your mother's procedure years ago. He says the operation  is now minimally invasive, so there's less pain and quicker recovery. Many patients go home the same day or within 24 hours. That greatly reduces the  patient's  risk of contracting a hospital related infection, which is critical during a pandemic.

In addition, pain is much better controlled now than it used to be. Dr. Selgrath says physicians use a multi-modal approach to pain. That means patients are given several different medications, most  are non-narcotic. He says those different medications help patients manage the pain better so they can be up and begin walking within hours of surgery. The sooner a person is mobile, the better it is for the outcome and for the prevention of blood clots.

He adds that patients are also given medication before the operation begins. That allows doctors to "trick" the body into believing there is no pain associated with the surgery. Dr. Selgrath says without pain, patients easily get up and move around following surgery and that helps kick start the recovery process. He says what used to be a 12-week recovery is now just three to six weeks long.