Dr. Victor Hugo Hernandez is an orthopedic surgeon at University of Miami Health System. For more information on whole joint replacement surgery at UHealth, call 305-243-3000 or visit the UHealth health news blog.
A new approach to knee replacement at UHealth allows patients to go home the day of surgery, resulting in a faster and safer recovery.
“We have changed our protocols, we have changed the way we do the anesthesia, and we have changed our rehabilitation for the patient,” says UHealth orthopedic surgeon Dr. Hernandez. “This allows us to do the surgery in under two hours and start physical therapy the same day. Within four to six hours the patient can go home.”
Dr. Hernandez says improvements in surgical techniques are attracting younger patients. In May, he replaced the knee of 56-year-old former athlete Rolando Zuccolillo. Dr. Hernandez says it is likely to last for 30 more years.
For Rolando, the benefits were practically immediate. “Four hours after surgery, he was walking, doing fantastic,” says Dr. Hernandez. Within just two months from surgery, Rolando had already returned to his active lifestyle.
“I still play basketball three times a week with a group of friends and I try to go on a three or four-hour bicycle ride every weekend,” says Rolando.
Dr. Hernandez says today 80 percent of the knee surgeries he performs are outpatient. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a shorter hospital stay is beneficial for patients who want to reduce exposure to medical facilities.
Rehabilitation is a key component of recovery, says Dr. Hernandez. At UHealth, physical therapy is offered at multiple locations including an award-winning life skills gym at UHealth Tower where patients can practice day-to-day tasks such as getting in and out of the car.
In addition to knee replacement, hip replacement surgery is also performed as an outpatient procedure at UHealth. “There’s a big change for those patients,” says. Dr. Hernandez. “They feel even better after surgery than they did in the morning because that pain is gone. They are able to walk.”
For Rolando, the repair of his knee joint has restored his quality of life faster than he anticipated. He says, “I am very, very happy. I had the best experience.”
FOCUSING ON YOU
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