Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic
Not Your Grandfather’s Hip Replacement
Like many things we enjoy in East Tennessee, sometimes we take resources for granted. For seven decades, Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic has been rebuilding broken dreams. In 2010, KOC opened the Knoxville Orthopaedic Surgery Center, entering a field that’s transforming healthcare by reducing costs and bringing faster recovery with less pain.
KOSC was the region’s first ambulatory surgery center dedicated to orthopaedics. As of 2016, only about 40 centers around the country were performing outpatient joint replacements, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. KOSC is still the only orthopaedic ambulatory surgery center around, drawing patients not only from Knoxville but across East Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky.
KOSC announced the recent expansion of the surgery center to meet growing demand and to be at the forefront as more types of surgeries are approved and covered by insurance on an outpatient basis. “We’ve seen a very large increase in the number of patients eligible for outpatient surgery over the past five years,” says KOC president Dr. Robert Ivy. “As our society ages, the need for hip and knee replacement has increased. Patients want the outpatient option. This is a consumer-driven change in healthcare.”
This is not your grandfather’s hip replacement. In fact, it’s not even last year’s model, with even more improvements on the horizon. That’s great news for people who’ve been waiting on the sidelines of life, enduring pain longer than they should. Advancements make it possible to offer more spine, joint, and other orthopaedic procedures that once required a hospital stay.
For active Baby Boomers, aging is beginning to catch up with them. New technologies, materials, and techniques make it possible to repair their bodies faster and better at a lower cost. Using specialized anesthesia techniques with ultrasound guided nerve blocks means that patients feel less pain in that crucial 72 hours after surgery. They can function faster because the nerves that control movement can be selectively avoided. With less need for medication to control pain, they can get back to their daily life.
In 2017, KOSC was able to perform its first outpatient hip replacement. Young, motivated, and in good overall health, 42-year-old Jason McClure was an ideal candidate. After suffering through debilitating pain and lack of mobility, the surgery freed him. He was up and moving within four hours, and was walking without assistance inside of two weeks.
While outpatient orthopaedic surgery offers many advantages, it is not for everyone. Dr. Ivy explains, “The anesthesia staff, surgeons, and the patient’s primary care doctor are all part of the decision as to what is best for the patient.” The hospital setting is essential in many situations. KOC surgeons can perform those inpatient surgeries with the extra resources that only hospitals provide. But, now there is another choice. In 2017, Humana reached its first agreement in Tennessee to make Medicare patients eligible for outpatient hip and knee replacements at KOSC.
KOC has been an important part of the community for decades, giving greater access through its four clinic locations that saw 160,000 patient visits last year. Now, KOSC increases access to surgical care, treating 10,000 patients in a year. With the new expansion to the surgery center, more people will have a choice in healthcare that helps bring relief from pain and rebuilds broken dreams.