Over the past year, the demand for going home the same day after total hip or total knee replacement surgery has increased dramatically. This is often called “same-day joint replacement” or “outpatient joint replacement.” It has been estimated that by 2026, more than half of all total joint replacement procedures will involve patients going home the same day. That said, same-day surgery requires a high degree of patient readiness. If you are considering whether this type of surgery is right for you, here are some things to consider.
- There is no place like home to recover after hip or knee surgery. In today’s environment, the option to stay at home is very appealing. Additionally, studies have shown that patients who recover at home have a decreased risk of infection and complications. They also have better outcomes and are more satisfied.
- Same-day total joint replacement surgery is for healthy patients. If you have significant medical issues, then you should consider staying in the hospital to recover for additional support and monitoring. If you are going home, there is no hospital support, which means this approach is reserved for healthy (and motivated) patients.
- A good support system is key to recovery. You will need a dedicated person to help you with daily activities and aid in your recovery.
- Advances in anesthesia and surgical technique have revolutionized same-day joint replacement surgery. Minimally invasive surgical technique and the use of numbing medication during the surgery results in less pain and a quicker recovery. The anesthesia used for many same-day joint replacement surgeries is a spinal anesthesia which results in less postoperative pain and nausea. These advances have revolutionized same-day joint replacement.
- Going home the same day starts with preparation long before the surgery. You must prepare your mind, body, and home before same-day surgery. A dedicated preoperative total joint education class at University Orthopedics will help you prepare for a successful same-day surgery. You will be given preoperative exercises to perform and in some cases, patients opt for preoperative physical therapy prior to surgery. And lastly, you will need to prepare your home by setting up your living space so that you can minimize stairs, clutter and recover comfortably.
- You will have your first physical therapy session within hours after surgery. Physical therapy starts very soon after surgery which has been shown to improves pain, swelling, range of motion and balance. You will work with our expert physical therapists who specialize in same-day total joint replacement. Their goal is to restore your mobility and help you gain confidence in your new joint.
- You won’t be sent home until you’re ready. In most cases, same-day surgeries are performed in the morning. Patients spend a few hours recovering in the surgery center prior to being discharged. If there are any unforeseen complications, you will be transferred to the hospital for additional monitoring and support.
- Expect to follow-up with your surgeon for post-op visits. Same-day surgery is still surgery. Appropriate post-op care and follow-up are essential to aid in your recovery.