The SwiftPath Program

Orthopedic Surgeon Andrew Wickline, MD, Publishes Studies Showing SwiftPath Method Reduces the Need for Opioids


Kirkland, WA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/21/2020 --SwiftPath surgeon Andrew Wickline, MD, of Genesee Orthopedics in New Hartford, New York, has published two peer-reviewed studies showing that patients who underwent surgery for total knee replacement or total hip replacement using the SwiftPath/surgeon authored protocols required significantly less opioid medication for pain management than traditional joint replacement surgeries generally require, reports Craig McAllister, MD, president and chief medical officer of SwiftPath Program LLC. SwiftPath develops evidence-based rapid recovery protocols that enable surgeons to provide hip and knee replacements with same day discharge in an outpatient setting or early discharge in a hospital setting.

Study Results

"We have conclusively shown that loads of opiates are unnecessary after total knee or total hip replacement," Dr. Wickline says. "Published data indicate there is an 8-14 percent risk of patients becoming chronically addicted after being prescribed opioids. Reducing or eliminating the use of opioids for pain management is in the patient's best interest and speeds recovery."

In the study of 207 patients who had total hip replacements, Dr. Wickline reported the average number of opioid pills taken to control pain was only 3.5 tablets over a six-week period. For 386 patients who underwent total knee replacement surgery, Dr. Wickline reported that 86 percent took 10 or less opioid pills over a 12-week period, with 19 percent of the study group taking no opioids.

In both groups, more than 90 percent of patients were discharged on the same day or the first postoperative day of surgery. With respect to formal physical therapy, 85 percent of the knee replacement patients and 95 percent of hip replacement patients did not require physical therapy but did do exercises at home as directed by Dr. Wickline.

Impact of the SwiftPath Method

Dr. Wickline attributes his success in reducing the use of opioids to using the SwiftPath Method, which includes patient education and management of patient-related risks prior to surgery; multimodal pain management that includes joint injections to control pain and minimize the need for narcotics; and his therapy-free approach that accelerates recovery and allows patients to recover at home.

"Patient engagement is the real cornerstone of SwiftPath. Helping patients to understand what they need to do and to believe their cooperation is paramount to the success of their surgery is critical," Dr. Wickline says. For each patient, he creates a "Patient Guide," a plan that serves as a roadmap for the pathway to recovery. This book guides the patient—and every member of the care team—through every step, from initial assessment to the day of surgery and beyond through recovery. And that results in a consistency that minimizes problems, according to Dr. Wickline.

Dr. Wickline's Background

Dr. Wickline has performed more than 20,000 total joint replacements in his career and is one of the highest volume surgeons in New York, performing more than 700 joint replacements annually. While the national average for readmission after joint replacement surgery is 4.4 percent, Dr. Wickline's average is 1.2 percent.

He was the founder of the total joint replacement program at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, New York and initiated the implementation of the Accelerated Outpatient Recovery System at both St. Elizabeth and the Apex Surgery Center. A fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Dr. Wickline enjoys sharing his knowledge and teaches outpatient joint replacement techniques in the U.S. and India.

"Dr. Wickline is always striving to take his practice to the next level," says Dr. McAllister. "He's always looking for ways to minimize disruption to his patients and improve outcomes. His dedication to his patients is an inspiration to all of us in the SwiftPath community."

Dr. Wickline has been nominated to receive CNY Business Journal's Excellence in Surgery award at the annual Excellence in Healthcare awards on Oct. 22.

About SwiftPath
SwiftPath ( develops consensus-based protocols, patient education programs and an array of information technology tools to assure the safety and efficiency of outpatient and early discharge setting joint replacement.

About Dr. Andrew Wickline
As a SwiftPath surgeon, Dr. Wickline ( is at the cutting edge of joint replacement excellence. SwiftPath changes the existing paradigm with state-of-the-art methods to improve outcomes, reduce complications, reduce the need for narcotics, and quickly return patients to a more mobile life.