The surgical care team accompanies patients to safe surgeries

The Lee Health Surgical Optimization Center, located in the Gulf Coast Medical Center medical office building, maximizes outcomes for patients undergoing orthopedic (total hip and total knee) surgeries. Based on the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Perioperative Surgery House (PSH) model, the center aims to improve surgical outcomes, use fewer resources, reduce hospital stays and readmissions, and reduce complications for patients referred to it.

When a patient is referred to the Surgical Optimization Center, staff assess their family history, personal medical history, medications, current condition, and screening or test results to help minimize unknown risks of surgery. Following the assessment, the healthcare 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 Surgical Optimization Center care team goes through is to liken it to a trainer preparing an athlete for a marathon,” says John Dunn, DO, Lee’s medical staff anesthesiologist. Health who introduced the PSH model to our healthcare system. “It is unlikely that an individual could run a marathon on a whim and complete the race successfully, so why should patients undergo major surgery unprepared? They shouldn’t, so the care team guides each patient to peak condition before surgery, which can 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 start to finish. The care team strives to:

  • Educate patients on self-care before and after surgery.
  • Create an organized leave plan.
  • Minimize patient stays in hospital.
  • Reduce patient recovery time.

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

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

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Larry Antonucci, MD, MBA is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lee Health, Southwest Florida’s leading healthcare destination, providing acute care, emergency care, rehabilitation services and diagnosis, health and wellness education, and community awareness and advocacy programs. Visit to learn more.

Christine E. Phillips