This morning the mission was off to it’s fastest start yet. This is the first time that we have had 3 operating rooms available at the same time, and the team have taken full advantage. The largest bottleneck yesterday was the lack of ORs to perform surgeries in. So far this morning 4 patients have entered total hip surgeries, with 3 already completed. The ward is probably the most exciting place to be right now, with pre-op, physiotherapy, post-op, new arrivals and discharges all happening down the same hallway. The surgeons have also been here assessing patients from previous missions and examining their x rays to see how their hips have healed in the time since they were operated on.
So far, the two types of surgeries performed this year have been total hip replacements, which are relatively self explanatory and the more involved to perform and pronounce, periacetabular osteotemies (abbreviated to PAO for anyone without white coat). In a total hip replacement, the surgeons replace the “ball and socket” part of the hip joint with an implant. This procedure generally takes around 1 hour to complete and the anesthesiologists often use a spinal epidural to numb the patient during the surgery. PAOs are a very sofisticated operation where the “socket” part of the hip joint (acetabulum) is rotated overtop the ball on the top of the femur to improve the interfacing of the ball and socket in the hip joint. A PAO requires the use of an x-ray throughout the procedure and generally takes around 3 hours. During the procedure the patients are put under general anesthetic, which is slightly harder to recover from as well. Today, 9 total hips are slated, along with 2 PAOs. With 3 operating rooms open for our use, this should be an achievable goal! This mornings surgeries have all been total hips with the more involved PAOs and the rest of the total hips slated for this afternoon.
Yamile, who had her PAO operation yesterday was up and walking this morning and blew the socks off our physiotherapy team by walking all the way to the door of her room and back during her first journey off the hospital bed. For Yamile, this small walk would have been an extremely painful but very important part of her recovery.