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Patients walk hours after surgery

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Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 1:30 pm

Unlike other joint replacement therapy programs, the Banner Boswell Joint Club has patients up and walking the same day of their surgery in an effort to speed recovery and reduce the risk of complications.

Former Joint Club member Inta Meya of Peoria had knee replacement in December and said that the therapy can be hard work, but the results are worth it.

“I had been miserable with that knee for so long,” Meya said. “That knee feels better now than it ever did before.”

Meya had scheduled a cruise to Hawaii before her surgery, but she was worried that she might not yet feel good enough to walk around a lot. She is glad she didn’t cancel her vacation.

Program coordinator Lori Ramage, a physical therapist, suggests patients opt for the joint replacement surgery when other less invasive options for osteoarthritis are no longer working, or the pain, discomfort, or instability is affecting their quality of life.

“Eventually you’ll know when it’s time,” Ramage said.

The Boswell Joint Club accepts patients opting for hip or knee replacement surgery for chronic joint pain resulting from arthritis caused by age or lifestyle.

Ramage, who gave a tour of the golf-themed Joint Club facility Monday morning with registered nurse Heather Moore, the senior manager of orthopedics, explained that while total joint replacement surgery does require intense rehabilitaion, the success rate is high.

The Banner Boswell program is both patient and family focused, and the patients do numberous group activities, including their exercise and physical therapy. Group therapy helps patients feel better and do better more quickly, Moore said.

“The group exercise, it motivates you,” Meya said.

Physical therapists with the program, such as Gladys Marino, help patients re-learn how to do simple things like sit at a table to eat dinner or get in a car.

“By the time they go home on day three, they’re doing more than other programs are two or three weeks later,” Marino said. “They welcome the exercise; they feel better afterwards.”

Patients have two exercise classes a day while in the hospital, but are discharged after two or three days, then have home physical therapy and outpatient care in the following weeks.

Patients are walking without assistance after six to eight weeks and can return to their regular activities after 10 to 12 weeks, but with this program, it is often sooner.

“Our golfers are golfing, the bowlers are bowling,” Ramage said.

Nearly 1,000 total joint replacement surgeries are performed at Banner Boswell every year, with a less than 1 percent complication rate, and more than 90 percent of patients are discharged directly to home.

“We have patients say ‘I can’t believe I did it, but I feel great,’” Moore said.

Moore emphasized that the Joint Club patients are not sick, just having surgery for hip or knee replacement.

“You don’t need to wear a gown with a flap in the back,” Moore joked.

The Banner Boswell Joint Club conducts tours quarterly for people interested in learning more about the program and joint replacement surgery, but both Ramage and Moore are also available to answer questions. Ramage can be reached at 623-876-5710 or by e-mail at; Moore can be reached at 623-876-6651 or

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