Orthopedic Surgeon Incorporates ON-Q System in Outpatient Total-Hip Replacement Surgery


LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- I-Flow Corporation today announced that Dr. Dana Mears, an orthopedic surgeon practicing at UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, has incorporated the ON-Q Post-Operative Pain Relief System into his innovative outpatient total hip replacement surgery program. ON-Q C-bloc is connected after the surgery to a lumbar plexus catheter placed by an anesthesiologist on the acute interventional post-operative pain service. ON-Q provides effective post-operative analgesia by continuously infusing a local anesthetic, 0.2 percent ropivacaine, around the lumbar plexus nerves responsible for most of the pain resulting from the surgery for up to three days - therapy that is given in combination with the administration of Bextra. In conjunction with the minimally-invasive technique pioneered by Mears, the use of the ON-Q continuous nerve block offers significantly better pain relief during the first three days following surgery and has made it possible for patients who would normally require as many as five days in the hospital to be out within 24 hours.

"It used to be that having a total hip replacement meant weeks and even months of recovery and rehabilitation. The combination of these two techniques here at UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside Hospital makes it possible to perform this surgery as an outpatient procedure for the first time, offering a glimpse at the future of surgery where patients will quickly get back to the things they love and need to do," said Mears. "The ON-Q continuous nerve block has made an enormous contribution to this effort, as we see patients who not only feel great and have significantly less pain, but also need significantly less narcotics, even after leaving the hospital."

Mears has partnered with Dr. Jacques E. Chelly, director of orthopedic anesthesia and acute interventional postoperative pain service, to develop this outpatient program at UPMC-Shadyside Hospital for total hip replacement surgery. Ten years ago, Mears determined that it was unnecessary to open up the entire hip area with a long incision during surgery. He pioneered a minimally-invasive surgical technique using smaller incisions and X-rays to guide the surgery. To decrease the amount of narcotics that patients must take to relieve their pain following surgery, Chelly introduced ON-Q C-bloc into the procedure. Today, the physicians treat eight to 10 patients per week with this program that begins with the initiation of the nerve block and placement of the lumbar plexus catheter. This is followed by the surgery with the most frequently performed spinal anesthesia, a short recovery in a post-anesthesia care unit, and special nurse assistance and physical therapy that begins immediately when a patient comes out of surgery. Mears has trained other centers including Johns-Hopkins and The Mayo Clinic, as well as centers in London, Paris and Bangkok, on this approach.

"The success of this program is evident in its benefits to both patients and hospitals. It is my belief that an increase in outpatient surgeries, particularly hip and knee replacement, could result in huge cost savings for the hospital and our healthcare system at large, due to the shorter hospital stays and to a reduced need for rehabilitation and physical therapy," said Mears. "However, seeing the results in the face of a patient who realized that undergoing a total hip replacement does not require a prolonged convalescence in a hospital and a rehabilitation center is the true reward."

"We are encouraged that the use of ON-Q helps orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists and acute pain specialists like Dr. Mears and Dr. Chelly to reduce post-surgical pain and helps patients get out of the hospital faster and go home rather than to a rehabilitation center, optimizing heath care resources," said Donald M. Earhart, president and CEO of I-Flow Corporation. "Around 200,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States, and we hope that more hospitals will recognize the benefits of minimally-invasive surgery combined with ON-Q to significantly reduce pain and narcotics intake following surgery so that patients nationwide can benefit from a procedure that allows them to get back to normal faster."

Source: I-Flow Corporation


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