Exparel Provides Relief from Joint Replacement Pain

Patients undergoing joint replacements at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital have seen dramatic reductions in post operative pain thanks to a new pain medication called Exparel.

Exparel is a new anesthetic injection that can be administered by specially trained physicians into the wound site following joint replacement, while the patient is still under anesthesia.

Dr. Michael Cobb with the West Tennessee Bone and Joint Clinic says, “Exparel is a medication that allows the orthopedic surgeon to significantly prolong the effect of numbing medicine directly at the operative site sufment. Since the drug is encapsulated in tiny absorbable particles it is released over a longer time period, thus prolonging pain relief. Many patients are able to leave the hospital a day earlier,” he said.

The single dose injection has been documented to reduce or eliminate pain for up to 72 hours.

According to Dr. Brad Wright with Sports Orthopedic and Spine, Exparel patients are able to start aggressive therapy sooner and have pain control with no weakness. “This definitely appeals to patients because Exparel helps them recover quicker following knee, hip and shoulder replacement,” he said.

80-year-old Millie Bain of Finley, Tennessee was shocked and proud that she didn’t have more pain following her hip replacement in early February.

“Before my surgery I had hurt so much that I really had been limited to staying in my recliner. Arthritis had set in and bone was rubbing on bone,” she said.

Bain said her doctor injected Exparel during her surgery and something happened she didn’t expect. She woke up from surgery pain free! Nurses told her she walked 60 feet to the nurses’ station the first day after the procedure and her pain control lasted for most of the day.

“I would definitely want to have the Exparel treatment again if I have surgery on my other hip,” she said.

Dr. David Sickle with the Jackson Clinic says, “I have found Exparel to provide excellent and long lasting pain relief in post op joint replacement patients. It is another useful tool that helps us to offer the latest techniques in joint replacement for our patients in West Tennessee.”

81-year-old Ron Clayton of Brownsville suffered from arthritis and had one of the first shoulder replacements using Exparel treatment and said he didn’t have any significant pain for the first 20 hours following surgery.

“I don’t know about anybody else but I know what it did for me, it worked. I would very much recommend it and I would do it again,” he said.

Surgery Executive Director Rene’ Hampton says this new patient focused pain control has been used at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital for only three months and has already proven to help patients in a variety of ways including shorter hospital stays, less narcotic pain medicine and earlier physical therapy.

“Patients seem to be up and moving quicker after joint replacement with an Exparel injection,” said Hampton. “Every patient is different but we have seen great results. Some patients have even been able to walk the same day after surgery. Less pain makes rehabilitation easier and recovery quicker. We are exploring using it for other types of surgeries,“ she said.

Orthopedics Services at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital supports expertly trained orthopedic surgeons with a continuum of services including state-of-the-art medical technology, to caring and convenient therapy services at the West Tennessee Rehab Center, the only CARF accredited rehab Center in rural West Tennessee.

Orthopedics includes a newly renovated nursing unit dedicated to joint replacement and orthopedic patients, with specially trained nurses, therapists and support staff.

When patients leave the unit and return home, they can take advantage of 16 conveniently located Sports Plus Rehab Centers throughout West Tennessee offering a wide range of outpatient services including physical therapy, occupational therapy, aquatic therapy and speech therapy.

Joint Effort is another major component of Jackson-Madison County General Hospital’s joint replacement program. It is a one day education class designed to prepare patients for joint replacement surgery. It provides a day long one stop experience that will complete pre registration and testing, teach pre- and post operative exercises, provides a facilities tour and offer case management counseling. The Joint Effort Class includes meeting with physical therapy, case managers and nurse liaisons. It is recommended that patients call to register to attend.

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