Wellness Wednesday: Benefits of surgery and recovery close to home

HEBER CITY, Utah - Americans are receiving total joint replacements at a record pace. More than a million people a year are estimated to receive joint replacement surgery every year and with an aging population that number is expected to grow to almost 2 million a year by 2030.

Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of a diseased, arthritic, or damaged joint are removed and replaced with a new joint made of metal, plastic or ceramic. The new joint is called a prosthesis and is designed to replicate the movement of a healthy, normal joint.

Intermountain Healthcare physicians have found improved health outcomes for those patients who receive total joint replacement treatment and follow-up care closer to home.

Research has shown receiving treatment and follow up care closer to home improves health outcomes for patients. Intermountain Healthcare is striving to make this a greater possibility in the communities we serve by expanding services at our growing hospitals.

Knee surgery is one example of a procedure where patients can benefit by being closer to their healthcare providers. In some cases, knee surgeries now require physical therapy sessions before and after a surgery.

“Those physical therapy sessions are key to a patient’s recovery,” said Katie Guyer, physical therapist at Intermountain Heber Valley Hospital. “When a patient doesn’t have to travel far it helps them keep their appointments and not fall behind on treatment.”

Guyer also said she has seen improved outcomes in some patients when they receive pre-surgery physical therapy sessions to improve strength and range of motion, which then improves their progress during post-surgery physical therapy.

Follow up visits after surgery are vital to a patient’s recovery. Guyer notes the delicate balance of regaining strength and movement. If a patient doesn’t do their exercises during physical therapy appointments and at home, it can slow recovery.

“If a person does too much moving after surgery, it can cause swelling which also hinders a person’s progress,” said Guyer.  “That’s why having patients keep their appointments is key.”

Getting around and moving after surgery has become a vital part of recovery. Movement is now encouraged because it not only helps regain strength, but gets blood moving to avoid clots.

Being able to do this type of care closer to where people live helps insure they have access to the best quality care. In some cases the convenience of closer care prevents patients from delaying treatment.

Click here for more information on Heber Valley Hospital and available services.

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