Better Outcomes for Joint Replacement Surgery
First Published: Investigator - August 2004
The effect on the brain following joint replacement surgery will be the focus of a research study at Flinders in the coming months.
Previous studies from the USA have shown that patients who have undergone knee and hip replacements can experience micro-embolic material (numerous tiny particles of fat) lodging in the brain following surgery. This can cause marginal changes in a patient's brain function therefore effecting their recovery time.
What researchers want to know is who is at risk of this embolic phenomenon and how their outcome, following surgery, can be improved.
Working alongside Neuropsychologist Dr Anthony Kneebone, Professor Jegan Krishnan from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will look at 60 patients over a six-month period.
Patients will be examined the day before surgery and then three days after while still in hospital. If there are changes, this is the time they will be most marked. Patients will then be examined again six months later.
"We want to be able to measure and record changes that will allow us to identify the characteristics of those who would suffer this problem," said Professor Krishnan.
"We will look at pharmacological drugs to see if we can firstly, alter the risk, and secondly maybe vary treatment for those patients who develop this embolic occurrence."
Once assessment tools have been developed, doctors are hoping to be able to use these procedures on patients who are on the waiting list and possibly improve their outcome.
This study has been made possible through a research grant from the FMC Foundation and Professor Krishnan hopes the study will be completed by the end of the year.