Patients back on their feet

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People having hip or knee replacements at Borders General Hospital can now expect to be back on their feet within a day of their operation.

Thanks to an Enhanced Recovery Programme, which has cut the length of time patients need to stay in hospital, the BGH has gone from having one of the longest stays in Scotland to one of the shortest.

Patients who have knee and hip surgery could be back home as quickly as a day after the procedure instead of having to wait a week. Using different forms of pain relief helps to ensure patients are pain-free.

“We use preoperative drugs but other than that we put local anaesthetics into the hip or knee, depending on what we’re doing,” explained Ali Mehdi, consultant orthopaedic surgeon

“For knees we have a pump which infuses the local anaesthetic fluid for up to 24 hours and that’s what makes people walk on the day of surgery.”

The success of the programme, pioneered at the Golden Jubilee hospital, Clydebank, is being confirmed in feedback from an ongoing patient satisfaction questionnaire in Orthopaedics.

More than 95 per cent of patients reported that they were highly satisfied overall with their stay in hospital.

Over 85% of patients said they progressed quicker than they thought after their operation, and many had a more positive experience than previous surgical procedures.

Following the success of Enhanced Recovery in orthopaedic surgery, the principles of the programme have now been applied to other types of problems such as hip fractures.