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Innovations bring treatments home for orthopedic patients at Bone & Joint Specialists I nnovation and specialty certifications at Bone & Joint Specialists make surgeries for many bone and joint procedures outpatient experiences. Seal of Approval for knee and hip replacement. And it’s one of only two Indiana hospitals to achieve Joint “Outpatient surgery is becoming more and more common compared to just three or four years ago,” says Dr. Scott Andrews, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Bone & Joint Specialists in Munster. Andrews developed and patented instruments to allow the surgeries to be more efficient and run more smoothly, keeping Bone & Joint Specialists at the forefront of joint replacement surgeries and care. Andrews specializes in knee, hip and shoulder disorders, using minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, safely Commission accreditation in knee and done in an outpatient setting. The hip replacement. same-day turnaround time for Denise Colantuono, joint patients is the result of newer surgery coordinator and orthopedic care techniques, says Andrews: navigator for The Joint Academy of St. • Surgery for joint replacement Mary Medical Center, directs The Joint requires only two small incisions, Academy’s inpatient program, where causing less damage to connective some patients stay only one night after tissue. That’s easier on the body and surgery. allows for a quicker and less painful The excellent care The Joint recovery. Academy offers joint replacement • Special pain medicine protocols patients includes resources such as used during and after surgery get a pre-operative class for outpatient patients back on their feet better and one-night inpatient procedures and quicker – with less pain. with a phone-in option for those unable to attend. “Patients also • Minimally invasive procedures receive an extensive, informative reduce possible blood loss during handbook, another resource that helps surgery, so there’s less need for make patients comfortable with the transfusions. procedure,” says Colantuono. “Studies have shown that Andrews notes that such patients recover at home better than resources are important. “These as longer-stay inpatients. Patients can surgeries – whether outpatient or get physical therapy as outpatients as inpatient – are new to patients, so the well. We make sure they can ambulate information helps with expectations safely before discharging them,” says and encouragement to know they can Andrews. have the surgery done successfully.” For outpatient surgeries, “I’m happy to see patients be less restrictive “We encourage patients to call post-op by being able to go home and us with a question or concern,” says be in a comfortable setting, and for Colantuono. “Patients like us being family members who don’t have to available as a post-op resource. Our go back and forth to visit them in the patients know we work with all our hospital.” practicing physicians and clinical staff as an effective, caring team.” Outpatient joint replacement is not for every patient. Andrews says “The most rewarding thing for some patients are better suited inpatient me,” says Andrews, “is to have a patient treatment because of other medical come back after surgery and say the issues. “But the newer techniques help sharp pain they had before surgery is them in their recovery, too.” gone. They’re happy they can walk and get around without that pain. Andrews helped to create The Joint Academy of St. Mary Medical “It’s empowering for the patient Center in Hobart in 2008 and is its to know they can be more independent medical director. faster,” Andrews adds. St. Mary Medical Center is the only Another area of expertise hospital in Northern Indiana to have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Dr. James Hong, who brings extensive foot and ankle surgical expertise to Bone & Joint Specialists, says the use of regional (nerve) blocks during surgery is another significant advancement in joint replacement and foot and ankle surgeries because patients don’t need to stay in the hospital for pain management. Smaller incisions also reduce pain and operating time, Hong says, adding that this keeps patients more comfortable at home without frequent interruptions in rest and sleep. Hong, board certified in foot and reconstructive rear foot/ankle surgery, turns to surgery only when other conservative measures have failed. He specializes in treating foot and ankle ailments that include trauma and congenital conditions. He cautions that when someone puts off a procedure for the foot or ankle, treating a broken bone, for example, “They can develop post-severe or post-traumatic arthritis, which can lead to other injuries including the knee and the back. If the foundation is off that can lead to other problems.” Though he is a trauma specialist, he most commonly treats a flat foot, which requires reconstructive surgery. He is also certified in the new procedure of arthritis arthroscopies for ankles. Hong tailors his treatments to each patient’s circumstances and goals. “I aim for the perfect rapport with patients, so they trust me and I trust them so that we both understand their realistic expectations for the surgery, and they understand the importance of complying with post-operative direction. That rapport is the most important thing.” It’s also one of the reasons Bone & Joint Specialists provides the gold standard in care.