Brian Schafer, MD, orthopedic surgeon who practices at Saint Francis Healthcare System has been using a new technique in knee surgery, a tourniquet-less knee replacement to minimize pain and quicken recovery time.
“Traditionally, we use a tourniquet during knee replacement surgery to stop blood flow to the leg,” says Schafer. “It is supposed to decrease blood loss during surgery, but it can cause temporary decrease in the quadriceps function because of the lack of blood. It also can create problems after we remove the tourniquet because bleeding you were not aware of can cause blood to pool in the knee, making it difficult to bend.”
The tourniquet-less knee replacement can cause more bleeding during the surgery, but it minimizes total risk of bleeding. “My blood transfusion rate decreased 80 percent when I began using this technique,” says Schafer. “Additionally, my patients are regaining their leg and knee function much more quickly.”
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