PHOENIX (KSAZ) - When doctors perform knee or hip replacement surgery, it's a major operation. Hospital stays were once lengthy, but at Banner Baywood, they have streamlined the process, helping patients get back on their feet and out of the hospital much faster.
"When I first got here 31 years ago, people routinely stayed seven days in the hospital," said Dr. Dwight Keller with Banner. "A few years before that, they were staying 12 days in the hospital after knee and hip replacements."
Times, however, have definitely changed, especially at Banner Baywood.
After hip or knee replacement surgery, in most cases patients are up walking around and going home within a day or two. Dr. Keller, an orthopedic surgeon, credits newer technology, realistic expectations and therapy, which has vastly improved at Banner.
"When I started ACL reconstructions, they would often stay in the hospital for a day or two," said Dr. Keller. "And now, it's totally routine that they go home. Again, the same pain control techniques, the same setting of expectations."
A major factor in getting people in and out after surgery are the real-life scenarios presented in a therapy room, where patients have a shower, a bathtub, and people can also practice getting in and out of their car.
"We love this because we can actually get it clear up to the celing, so anyone who does have one of those lifted pick up trucks can actually get in the pick up truck without worrying about how they're going to get home, and we can get it clear down to the ground," said Brandon Hepworth.
This state of the art therapy room was once used as storage space. Now, it's helping people like Francis Stella, who had a left knee replacement, get on with their life much faster post-op.
"I didn't want to do it," said Stella. "Each time I talked to anybody and they said I did it no surgery, and I feel OK, then I said I'm never going to do it."
Stella says being put through things that she'll have to do at home reduced her anxiety about going home, but most of all, getting in and out of her vehicles.
"Gave me the feeling I was home with the Hummer, because it's a nice car," said Stella. "You can lift it up and down, make it any size you want it. They show me how to get in and out now with my left leg."
Banner Baywood is also cutting back on the use of narcotics post-op, by using pain blocks during these types of surgeries.