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October/13/2011 16:11PM
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Less than 48 hours after I was rolled into surgery for a knee replacement, I was back home.

It was pretty routine, as knee replacements go, except for the “audible”, per the surgeon, the surgeon and the representative for Zimmer, the knee manufacturer, called. As they both revisited the historical profiles of the x-rays and the first look at the mess of a knee, they realized there was virtually no ligaments to hold the new knee in place.

So the rep grabbed a different model and they put that one in. It has more capacity to find surface areas to grip and relies less on ligaments to hold it in place.

Will audibles be allowed under ObamaCare? Will a shorter stay be an option? Most people I talked to said no to both. Like most things government, it will be hard and fast rules. You get the off-the-shelf model knee and you stay the time the rules require you to stay.

Good judgment always seems like a positive to me. I got to go home because I am in good shape, can tolerate pain, and was driven to do so. I got a more complex knee based on need. One saved money and one cost more. On balance, the savings was greater than the cost increase.

One of these days, knee replacements will be out patient procedures. I’m glad I did mine before that becomes practice.

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