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You are scheduled for joint replacement surgery. It’s on your calendar, it’s on our calendar. Unfortunately, your procedure might be canceled or delayed on the scheduled day of surgery. I know this can be frustrating for my patients. It is important to understand the common reasons why this happens:1

Shortage of Operating Time: This is the most common cause of cancellations on the day of surgery. There are lots of moving parts and staff involved in the maintenance and function of an operating room. Delayed starts, the time between cases for staff to recover and regroup, preparation and cleaning of the operating room, and delayed transportation of a patient from the OR to a recovery room–these are just a few time-consuming factors that can take more time than anticipated, and therefore, can create a shortage of time available in the operating room.

Staff Shortage: A surgeon may be called away from elective surgery to aid in emergency surgery. Hospital staff, like employees in any other line of work, can turn up sick or have emergencies outside of work. A shortage in staff may cause a cancellation.

Unexpected Medical Complications: Though you have been assessed and approved before the day of your surgery, we will assess your overall health again on the day of your procedure. Your blood pressure is unusually high, or you’ve developed a significant respiratory tract infection, or your diabetes isn’t under control, or maybe an abnormality in the heart shows up in pre-surgical assessment–such unplanned health concerns may cause a cancellation.

Though some of these reasons for cancellations cannot be predicted or avoided, many of them can. Your surgical team will do everything possible to move forward with your scheduled procedure. If you have any doubts or questions about your hip or knee surgery, let’s discuss them and set your mind at ease. If you are unsure when your surgery is scheduled, call my office, and let’s clarify the day and time of your procedure.

I know that canceling a patient’s surgery can take a toll on their emotional and physical well-being. Therefore, your care team here at Oklahoma Joint Reconstruction Institute will take every possible precaution to avoid such cancellations. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate your journey to joint health.

Author: Dr. Paul Jacob is a leading hip and knee surgeon in Oklahoma City who pioneered robotic joint replacement surgery in an outpatient setting. Dr. Jacob has performed over 5000 robotic joint replacement procedures and actively participates in numerous research studies on robotic outcomes.

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