Risk of Surgery
General Risks - Often patients undergoing total joint replacements are older and somewhat disabled. Surgery is not easy on their bodies. If their general health is weak, they may be challenged to recover from surgery.
Although rare, patients have had heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, or other general medical problems around the time of surgery. And, although extremely rare, even deaths have been reported. All of Dr. Clyburn's patients are required to undergo a strenuous preoperative medical evaluation and clearance by the anesthesiologist before they ever come to the operating room. One of the hospitalists (a medical doctor who cares for hospital in-patients) he uses is usually asked to help in the patient's care around the time of surgery. Also, with the use of alternative techniques of anesthesia, including regional blocks, spinals, and epidurals, the risks of anesthesia have been significantly reduced.
Dr Clyburn has been involved in research to prevent infection in orthopaedic surgery. As a member of the Infection Committee (Now the Patient Safety Committee) he has been asked to write two articles on this topic. "Timing of Prophylactic Antibiotics in TJA" and "Antibiotic Laden Cement: Current State of the Art".
The most noticeable development while Dr. Clyburn was at The University of Texas Health Science Center in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery was the development of antibiotic microspheres. These are small beads which are capable of releasing antibiotics at a very predictable rate. They have been shown to be effective in the treatment of osteomyelitis (bone infection). They also have been applied to implants and have protected these implants from infection. Antibiotic microspheres are not yet FDA approved, but the patent is pending, and continued research is ongoing which will lead to FDA approval. Dr. Clyburn feels confident that this technology will eliminate, or at least markedly reduce, the risk of infection seen whenever any artificial material is implanted in the human body.