What is Same-Day Joint Replacement?
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Same-day joint replacements, or outpatient joint replacements, are joint replacement procedures in which hospital admission, surgery, and discharge all occur in less than 24 hours. These procedures usually occur in a special hospital unit, and are currently being done for knee and hip replacements. The average hospital stay for these patients is less than 8 hours.
In the traditional inpatient model for joint replacement, the average hospital stay is 2-3 nights, so how are individuals able to have surgery and be discharged the same day? One reason is the innovative advances in surgical procedures. This includes robotic-assisted surgeries and minimally-invasive surgeries that limit blood loss and the trauma to muscle tissue. There has also been advancements in pain management following surgery. Facilities are now able to use multiple modes of pain management to allow patients to walk within hours after surgery.
Same-day joint replacements are not for everyone. Individuals must be considered low-risk, healthy individuals who are engaged in the entire preparation and recovery process. The individuals also needs a good support system at home as they will have decreased support from the hospital staff after surgery. In the end, the choice of having an outpatient joint replacement is decided by the patient and medical team.
Because of the decreased hospital stay and decreased support, preparation before surgery is essential. This includes physical preparation, mental/psychological preparation, as well as preparing your home environment and support system. It is important to be active in your preparation and understand the differences between outpatient surgeries and the traditional inpatient models.
For those who it is appropriate for, there are multiple benefits of having same-day surgery. Due to the decreased invasiveness of surgery and the decreased hospital stay, risks for infections and complications are reduced. Patients also report increased satisfaction with outpatient procedures, possibly due to the comfort of rehabbing in their own homes. Outpatient joint replacement procedures are also significantly less costly for both the patient and the healthcare providers.
Same-day replacements are not widely available currently. However, the percentage of outpatient joint replacement surgeries has significantly increased over the last few years and this significant increase is projected to continue. It is likely that same-day joint replacement surgeries will become the norm in the not-to-distant future.
1. Richter, Dustin L., and David R. Diduch. “Cost Comparison of Outpatient Versus Inpatient Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty.” Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine 5.3 (2017): 2325967117694352.
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