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Wellness Check: In Omaha, an increase in same-day surgeries was brought on by the pandemic

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 20:07:40-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The concept of same-day surgeries has been around for years and recently it made its way to Nebraska.

3 News Now anchor Vanessa Villafuerte spoke to a CHI orthopedic surgeon who explains how the pandemic played a role in the increase of same-day surgeries and how it recently transformed one Iowa man’s quality of life.

"You're on edge all of the time, everything just hurts,” Todd Friesleben, a CHI patient said.

Friesleben has struggled with debilitating arthritis for years.

"I was in pain to the point where, if I went shopping or something, I would carry a T-shirt because you would literally sweat so much,” Friesleben said. “You had to change your shirt."

Not only did it impact his quality of life, but it also began to take a toll on the rest of his family.

"Everything was a struggle,” Friesleben said. “My kids and my family after I had [the surgery] they said, 'dad you're a different person.' I wasn't so short and cross with them. I was back to normal."

Everything changed when he underwent a procedure that not only alleviated his pain but also gave him the opportunity to recover from the comfort of home.

"Very deformed legs,” Dr. Clayton Thor, a CHI orthopedic surgeon, said. “We straightened them out as much as humanly possible. He's very happy with that. He told me in the clinic a few days ago he wishes he would've done it a few days ago."

Dr. Thor said the hospital was faced with opting for same-day surgeries when the pandemic began.

"We developed protocols and I started out with very young, healthy patients that needed it,” Dr. Thor said. “Then as time went on, I expanded it and now we're to the point where it's become more comfortable and patients seem to love it — sleeping in their own bed instead of a hospital — to where now 80% of my hip and knee replacements go home the same day."

Friesleben’s story is just one among several successes that may encourage those hesitant about same-day surgeries.

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