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October 7, 2009 > Joint Replacement Unlocks Doors to Improved Quality of Life

Joint Replacement Unlocks Doors to Improved Quality of Life

Mobility embodies the very essence of an active lifestyle. Add to the mix chronic knee or hip pain, and many daily activities become less enjoyable. Fortunately, the latest techniques in minimally invasive joint replacement surgery have the power to bring patients back to their regular daily activities faster and with fewer complications compared to traditional surgery.

"If you look at the entire spectrum of surgery, hip and knee replacement rank number one and two as far as improvement of quality of life," according to John T. Dearborn, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and medical director of Washington Hospital's Center for Joint Replacement (CJR).

Joint replacement patients at CJR, he says, typically are up and walking the day of surgery in the case of total hip replacement and the day after surgery
following total knee replacement.

Significant advantages

"In general, for patients going through joint replacement, there are significant advantages to early mobility, because when you use your muscles, those muscles recover more quickly after surgery," Dr. Dearborn explains. "The second key advantage to minimally invasive surgery is reducing the incidence of blood clot formation, which is one of the most common and serious complications that can be greatly mitigated by mobilizing patients sooner. The third aspect is that less invasive techniques allow these patients to do earlier weight bearing.

"When patients are mobile sooner, there's a psychological benefit. If you have a patient with a more positive outlook, it builds confidence. These patients end up being huge advocates of joint replacement."

This month, Dr. Dearborn and his partner, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Alexander Sah, who joined the practice last year, will present a seminar focusing on total knee replacement surgery, including the history of traditional surgery, the evolution during the last five years of less invasive techniques, recent progress in surgical techniques and the difference in results between current treatment and traditional methods.

Partnering with patients

"I think, as with any surgery, it's critical that patients have an understanding of the purpose of surgery and what to expect after surgery," Dr. Sah says. "Given more education, patients' expectations are more likely to be met. Our system here is unique in that the education extends in written format, including an educational manual, pre-operative classes and our seminars. It's truly a multi-media education program."

Dr. Sah says the practice has been an ideal fit for him because of his colleague's dedication to partnering with patients.

"I think I'm very fortunate in that I have found a partner that has many of the same ideals that I do," he says. "Dr. Dearborn is committed to the patient-first ethic, and we are both focused on the most current surgical techniques in minimally invasive surgery. We take care of the patient as a whole. I'm fortunate to work in an environment in which compassionate care is an highly valued aspect of the treatment process."

Looking toward the future

In the next two years, the Center for Joint Replacement will move into a brand new facility being built in conjunction with Washington Hospital's comprehensive expansion and seismic upgrade project.

"The biggest thing in the Center's near future is our new building, which we expect to be completed in three years," Dr. Dearborn says. "The new facility is much larger with more patient rooms, a larger clinical research space and a bigger rehabilitation area - all located under one roof. We are very excited about that."

New surgical techniques for knee replacement

If you or a family member is living with chronic knee pain, please join Dr. John T. Dearborn and Dr. Alexander Sah for a comprehensive seminar highlighting leading edge treatment options in knee replacement surgery. The seminar will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A and B, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

To register, call (800) 963-7070 or visit to register online. To learn more about Washington Hospital's Center for Joint Replacement, visit or call (888) 494-7003.

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