The Yukon’s first-ever total hip replacement surgery took place on Nov. 29.
In a statement, officials with both Yukon hospitals and the territory’s Department of Health and Social Services described it as an “important milestone” for orthopedics in the territory.
Over the last several years, the orthopedic program has been expanding services available to Yukoners with a goal to provide comprehensive elective joint (knee and hip) replacement surgeries and emergency orthopedic care, while minimizing travel and wait times.
In the last four years, nearly 500 urgent orthopedic cases have been cared for in Whitehorse, meaning fewer medevac trips south for patients and families, improved continuity of care and an overall better patient experience.
“Our team has been working hard to develop the Yukon’s first total hip replacement program,” Dr. Scott Westberg, who helped complete the operation, said. “Hip replacement surgery is essential to any community orthopedic practice and we’re excited to be part of this monumental step in local orthopedic care. Providing this procedure in-territory means an improved patient experience with shorter wait times and care closer to home for Yukoners.”
Al Lucier, chair of the Yukon Hospital Corporation, noted more patients can now access procedures and recover in the territory.
Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee added the expansion of orthopedic care aligns with a recommendation out of the Putting People First report to provide a continuum of care close to home for Yukoners.
“We are doing exactly that by providing comprehensive elective joint (knee and hip) replacement surgeries and emergency orthopedic care right here in our territory,” she said.
Statistics provided show general orthopedic procedures in the Yukon have increased from 374 cases in 2016-17 to 506 cases in 2020-21.
Since 2017-18, 495 urgent orthopedics procedures have been cared for in the Yukon, it was noted.
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