GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Garden Park Medical Center recently announced it’s getting special recognition for its hip and knee replacement care. That recognition comes at a time when joint replacement surgery is at an all-time high due to people living longer and having more active lives as they age.
One of the ways Garden Park is preparing patients for joint replacement surgery is by offering a class every Thursday. The class covers everything patients and their families need to know before, during, and after surgery,
"Just by having this class you're 50 percent less likely to have complications," said registered nurse Jenny Vercher, as she spoke to patients.
It's initiatives like this that helped Garden Park earn the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for Hip and Knee Replacement.
"We applied for it and are the first hospital in the state to get accredited," said orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Lance Johansen. "We wanted our community to know you can get the best care right here and don't have to go out of town for surgery."
Dr. Johansen, says the award comes at a time that more people are choosing joint replacement to improve their quality of life.
"Knee replacement is being done routinely in patients even into their 90's but the average age is about 60," said Dr. Johansen.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of knee replacement surgeries doubled between 2000 and 2010. Doctors expect the demand for all types of joint replacement surgeries to continue to grow.
Jackie Switzer is one of those patients. She's getting around just fine now, thanks to a double knee replacement by Dr. Johansen a few years ago.
"It has been the best thing I've ever done," said Switzer.
But before the surgery it was a different story.
"My knees were sore all the time," said Switzer.
Like many people, Switzer tried more conservative treatments first but was ready to get back to her active lifestyle without pain.
"When the knee becomes bone on bone, it's painful," said Dr. Johansen. "We give shots, pills, braces to make it better but when those things no longer help and pain is uncontrolled, joint replacement is highly successful for getting their quality of life back."
Dr. Johansen says if joint pain is affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor about treatment options.