Barry Herb of Medford is no stranger to doctors and hospitals. Diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition that leads to cartilage loss in joints, he has undergone several surgeries and procedures on both knees and both shoulders over the past 20 years.
For years, he went through what he referred to as “body erosion” to the point where there was no cartilage left in his right knee, leaving bone scraping bone. He felt the discomfort and lack of stability in the knee, making walking and other simple tasks difficult. While on vacation in Aruba, the knee buckled and he nearly had a bad fall. “That was the point when I knew I had to have something done to take care of it,” he said.
Barry consulted with orthopedic surgeon Abraham Shurland, MD, chief of orthopedic surgery at MelroseWakefield Hospital. It was apparent that Barry was in need of a full knee replacement. “Knowing that he had bone-on-bone osteoarthritis in that knee, it was a pretty easy decision to move forward with a total joint replacement. We felt this was the best way to help him achieve his quality of life goals,” explained Dr. Shurland.
Although Barry agreed that he needed the surgery, he was not looking forward to a hospital stay. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been treated well when I’ve been hospitalized,” he said. “But personally, I would prefer to recuperate at home if given the choice.”
Luckily, Barry was a candidate for same-day knee replacement surgery at MelroseWakefield Hospital.
According to Dr. Shurland the technology of total joint replacement surgery has progressed to the point where patients can get home faster to recover in the comfort of their own home. “Patients are up and walking before they return home on the same day as surgery. At home they will typically have a more restful sleep in their own bed and have less chance of receiving an infection.” As a result of going home sooner, patients report less stiffness, greater mobility and a quicker return to normal activities.
There is a national trend to try to get patients home sooner, even on the same day as surgery,” said Dr. Shurland. “For many patients, this is an ideal situation, but in order for us to consider a same-day procedure, we need to ensure the safety of the patient.” Ideally, candidates for an ambulatory joint replacement surgery should be under the age of 80, not have co-morbidities such as diabetes or heart disease, and be in good physical condition.
“We are comfortable and confident with helping people recover more quickly. We can access early physical therapy and manage pain to the point where we can get a number of our patients home on the same day as their surgery, when appropriate. Barry is a healthy and active guy, so we agreed that, with the right amount of monitoring, he would be a good candidate.”
“I stay active. I exercise and play golf two or three times a week,” said Barry. “It was important for me to recover at home, and I was happy to have a surgeon like Dr. Shurland who could help make that happen.”
Prior to Barry’s surgery at MelroseWakefield Hospital, he visited the hospital for what is known as orthopedic surgery boot camp, where nurses, physical therapists and other hospital staff meet with patients and go over pre-surgery checklists, pain medication options, visiting nurse and physical therapy visits and schedules, and answer any questions.
On the day of his knee replacement, Barry’s surgery started at 7:30 a.m., and, after having physical therapy and being medically cleared, he was on his way home by 4:30 p.m.
“Having a same-day total knee replacement surgery was the right option for me,” he said. “It was good to know that this option is available locally, right here at MelroseWakefield Hospital, saving my wife and I from driving into Boston for appointments when we didn’t have to.”
An avid golfer, Barry, was back on the course just shy of four months following his knee replacement surgery, and is now back to playing two to three times each week.