Transforming post-surgical outcomes in the US with medical technology

Transforming post-surgical outcomes in the US with medical technology

Despite having a success rate of up to 98% [1] in the US, orthopaedic surgery can pose a wide range of adversities for patients that can lead to ongoing pain and discomfort, ultimately delaying patients reaching a full recovery.

Edema and the risks in recovery

Edema (swelling) is a common physical reaction that occurs following orthopaedic surgery. As the body begins to heal the surgical wound, extra fluid builds up around the affected area in the tissue to promote healing, prevent infection and help the tissues recover. Although it is a natural component of the recovery process, edema itself can contribute to further pain and limit mobility.

Some patients may experience edema up to six months [2] (and longer) following the procedure, impacting their ability to resume life as normal. Patients experiencing edema should be conscious of the risks associated with swelling and understand that – although common – it could be an indication of a more serious condition such as an infection or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Without relevant prophylaxis, approximately 80% [3] of orthopaedic surgical patients will develop DVT, and between 10% – 20% will develop pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be life threatening. Understanding the recovery process is therefore vital in preventing serious complications.

The financial burden in orthopaedics

Orthopaedic surgery can place a financial burden on the healthcare system and many families in the US, with TKA costing $19,995 [4] without health insurance and more complicated procedures such as a total hip replacement surgery costing up to $40,000 [5] for an uninsured patient. The average length of stay following orthopaedic surgery is approximately three days [6] , which can cost around USD $8,226 [7] on average, indicating the proportion of costs associated with hospital recovery.

The level of 30-day hospital readmissions or unplanned return to operating room (UROR) in the US following orthopaedic surgery is reported between 4 and 7% [8]. Patients can be readmitted with serious medical or surgical complications of the original hospitalization, which can be costly and harmful. In other cases, patients may return to hospital if they are not recovering as well or quickly as they should. For 90-day readmissions for THA and TKA, payments can range from ~$7,000 to ~$15,000 [9] depending on Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) complications. One in ten patients return to ED within 90 days of total joint arthroplasty (TJA), incurring costs for clinician time and the diagnostic scans and tests to determine and prescribe appropriate treatments.

New methods of care

With medicine reaching the frontiers of what is possible in orthopaedic surgery, healthcare professionals are looking to recover new ways to optimize patient outcomes and reduce health costs. Fortunately, new initiatives like Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols – also referred to as “fast track”, “accelerated,” or “Rapid Recovery” [10] in the US – have garnered significant focus due to their ability to manage immediate post-surgical complications, allowing for earlier mobilization, shorter hospital stays, and a quicker return to life as normal.

The role of MedTech

As ERAS methods are increasingly adopted into medical practices, healthcare professionals are beginning to look to innovation to support patients through the recovery process. Aiding the mission to reduce the surgical impact on patients – both physically and financially – is medical technology (MedTech).

MedTech that is non-invasive and simple, safe and easy to apply, provides an appealing alternative for healthcare professionals and patients that can enhance recovery by reducing postoperative complications, like edema, to help manage pain and accelerate a patient’s journey to mobility. Medical devices are being introduced into care pathways to enable shorter hospital stays and enable patient rehabilitation to begin sooner, even supporting recovery in the home setting.

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References:

  1. 7 Million Americans Living With Implants – Orthopedic Associates SC (oaarlington.com)
  2. Swelling after Total Knee Replacement – Complete Orthopedics (cortho.org)
  3. Blood Clots in Orthopedic Surgery Fact Sheet (stoptheclot.org)
  4. Total Knee Replacement Cost Without Insurance | Affordable Care in US (medicaltourismco.com)
  5. The Facts About Hip Replacement Cost | Outpatient Joint Replacement Center Of America (ojrca.com)
  6. Hospital Stay of Orthopedic Cases in a Tertiary Care Hospital: A Descriptive Cross-sectional Study – PMC (nih.gov)
  7. AHA Annual Survey Database™ | AHA Data
  8. Readmissions after elective orthopedic surgery in a comprehensive co-management care system—a retrospective analysis – PMC (nih.gov)
  9. Patterns and Costs of 90-Day Readmission for Surgical and Medical Complications Following Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty – PMC (nih.gov)
  10. What is Rapid Recovery Surgery? – North Central Surgical Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

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