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Surgical Optimization Center Care Team Coaches Patients Toward Safe Surgeries

From the Desk of Dr. Antonucci

Aug. 3, 2022

The Lee Health Surgical Optimization Center, located in the Medical Office Building at Gulf Coast Medical Center, maximizes outcomes for patients undergoing orthopedic (total hip and total knee) surgeries. Based on the American Society of Anesthesiologists®’ Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) model, the Center aims to improve surgical outcomes, use fewer resources, reduce hospital stays and readmissions, and decrease complications for patients referred there.

When a patient is referred to the Surgical Optimization Center, the staff assesses their family history, personal medical history, medications, current conditions, and screening or test results to help minimize the unknown risks of surgery. Following the assessment, the care team, often in conjunction with a primary care provider or specialist, provides patients with a personalized plan to prepare them for surgery. The plan may include suggestions for dietary changes, therapy, pain management and treatment for any underlying conditions.

“A good way to understand the process that the care team at the Surgical Optimization Center carries out is by comparing it to a coach preparing an athlete for a marathon,” says John Dunn, D.O., the anesthesiologist on the Lee Health Medical Staff who introduced the PSH model to our health system. “It is unlikely that an individual could run a marathon on a whim and successfully finish the race, so why should patients undergo body-straining, major surgery with no preparation? They shouldn’t, so the care team guides each patient to an optimal condition before surgery, which may take weeks or months of preparation, but ensures the best outcome.”

Created with high-risk surgeries in mind, there are benefits for any patient referred to the Center because the team is dedicated to each patient’s entire surgical journey, from beginning to end. The care team strives to:

  • Educate patients on self-care before and after surgery.
  • Create an organized discharge plan.
  • Minimize patient hospital stays.
  • Decrease recovery time for patients.

The Surgical Optimization Center is a great, tangible example of Lee Health’s mission of being a trusted partner, empowering healthier lives through care and compassion. I am so proud to have this level of personalized, truly empowering care in our community and available for our patients undergoing total knee and hip surgeries.

To learn more, visit and search “Surgical Optimization Center.”