Sussex hospital pioneers hip operation to cut recovery time

Patient being injected in back by doctor The procedure involves local anaesthetic being injected into the patient's back

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A new way of doing hip operations in Sussex has reduced the amount of time patients spend in hospital by almost a half.

St Richard's Hospital, in Chichester, is using local anaesthetic, instead of general anaesthetic and morphine during surgery.

Hospital staff say that some patients who have had full hip replacements are up and walking within hours.

Time spent in hospital has fallen from seven days to less than four.

The patient is injected with local anaesthetic into their back and affected joint.

'Big change'

Dr Cathryn Eitel, consultant anaesthetist, said: "Patients can expect to be up and about the day they have the surgery.

"They will all be able to eat and drink on the day of their surgery and they will no longer have to have fluids attached to them."

The operation takes an hour-and-a-half, during which the patient is awake, though can be sedated to make them feel "woozy".

Mark White, senior physiotherapist, said the surgery had been a "big change".

"People are feeling less dizzy, less nauseous and having less pain," he said.

St Richard's said other hospitals around the country have also stopped using morphine, but it is the first to develop a specialist system involving operating staff, physios and recovery nurses in the procedure.

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