Health Beat: Joint School provides the calm before the surgery at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital

November 15, 2023

Health Beat: Joint School provides the calm before the surgery at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital

Class is in session at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and total joint replacement is the subject.

Welcome to Joint School.

No, you won’t have to take a test, and you won’t receive a grade, but you will have homework before and after your total knee or hip replacement surgery.

“Joint School is an in-person learning experience presented by the orthopedic and rehab team that walks you through the process of receiving a total hip or knee replacement,” said Ian Campbell, PT, DPT, OCS, and director of rehab and wellness at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. “It specifically educates you on how to prepare for your surgery, what to expect while at the hospital for pre-op, post-op, and discharge, and your recovery timeline, which includes physical therapy and orthopedic follow-up appointments.”

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital welcomed Dr. Kevin Bowman aboard in May 2022, and since then he has performed 45 total knee replacements, 34 total hip replacements, along with many other orthopedic procedures you may not associate with being performed at the hospital.

“The biggest change in orthopedics is the increased range of services provided by the addition of more providers and the partnership with Mass General Brigham,” said Anthony Piland, PA-C, MBA. “The volume of joint replacements has increased since Dr. Bowman has been here, as more people realize they do not need to go off-Island.”

Dr. Bowman brings exemplary credentials as an orthopedic surgeon, previously working at Sturdy Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Attleboro, Orthopedic Group, Inc./Blackstone Orthopedics and Sports Medicine/Ortho RI in Providence, R.I., and Southern New England Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine P.C. in Attleboro.

“I think a key thing for patients to know is that we have the skills and resources to perform joint replacement here at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and that our outcomes have been great,” said Piland.



To complement the excellent work done by Dr. Bowman and his team, the collaboration among physical therapy, acute care, the operating room, and orthopedics is key to successful outcomes.

“As a small hospital, the key departments work closely together, which helps make the whole process seamless,” said Piland. That collaboration is what Joint School is all about.

“We want to ensure a seamless patient experience from the day you book your initial consult with the orthopedic team all the way until you are discharged from outpatient physical therapy,” said Campbell. “Patients are highly engaged, encouraged, and informed leaving Joint School.”

The first in-person Joint School was held in July, and there’s been one a month at the hospital since. The next session is Nov. 15 at 3 pm, in the Community Room at the hospital.

While there is a PowerPoint presentation with graphics detailing what a new hip or knee joint would look like, and what type of equipment you’ll need at home after surgery, patients are urged to ask questions and take notes.

The previous Joint Schools have proven to be quite interactive. Questions included: How long before I can drive? Will I be able to climb stairs when I get home? How long will the surgery take? How will rehab work?

“The biggest challenge patients face is having the patience throughout the rehab process,” said Campbell. “It will take a few weeks to be back to walking normally again, have less pain, and do what they were able to do pre-op. Typical rehab timeline for total knee can be anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks, and total hips are generally quicker recovery, eight to 12 weeks. However, each patient is different, and depending on what your goals are, the rehab can be shorter or longer.”

Patients are encouraged to do their rehab at the hospital.

“The communication between the rehab team and orthopedic team is excellent, as we are right down the hall from one another,” said Campbell, noting the hospital provides high-quality one-on-one patient-to-therapist care for 45 minutes per session, two to three times per week.

Patients and family members have been raving about Joint School.

An attendee at the first session in July was getting a second knee replacement, after having his first surgery done in Boston six years ago.

“This is a great idea,” he said, referring to Joint School. “It’s just an amazing process. This was so helpful. I’m more relaxed [about the surgery].

“This doesn’t happen everywhere,” he said, adding, “I think the PT department here is phenomenal.”

“This is terrific,” his wife added.

A patient at the September Joint School said, “I think this is an excellent program.”

So if a total knee or hip replacement is in your future, be prepared to go to school.

To learn more about Joint School, call 508-957-9531. To schedule an appointment with the orthopedics department, call 508-696-1052.

Health Beat is sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. It informs and advises you on health issues, shares health tips, and helps you become better acquainted with Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the physicians, and staff. For more information, visit

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