What to Expect from an Outpatient Joint Replacement

What Kind Of Joint Replacement Can Be Done As An Outpatient Procedure

Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is one of the most successful and effective procedures performed in orthopedics. Advances in technology through medical research, the application and use of computers, and pain management techniques have contributed to shorter recovery times and gradually shortened hospital stays for patients having a total joint replacement. A growing number of joint replacements are being performed on an outpatient basis in hospitals or surgical centers. Here is what you can expect from an outpatient joint replacement.

As people live longer and more active lives, it makes sense for many who suffer from severe arthritis to have joint replacement surgery. The number of joint replacements performed each year has grown significantly. In 2017 there were more than 1 million procedures performed in the U.S., with numbers expected to reach 4 million by 2030. Along with a growth in numbers, the satisfaction rate for patients is extremely high (approaching 90%) while the number of revision procedures has declined.

Not every patient is a good candidate for outpatient joint replacement (also called same-day joint replacement). Your orthopedic surgeon will make a recommendation based on your general health and any other conditions that could affect surgery. A BMI greater than 35, diabetes, or advanced age may be indications that you will need a hospital stay after joint replacement. However, both patients and surgeons prefer an outpatient joint replacement for those who are good candidates.

Outpatient Joint Replacement

Once you and your surgeon have decided that outpatient joint replacement is the right procedure for you, expect to receive extensive education about the first days after the surgery. When you have an outpatient procedure, you as the patient (or your caregiver) are responsible for contacting your medical team if there is a complication requiring assistance one you return home.

Before your surgery, you should attend a class with your doctor’s office that teaches pain management techniques, exercises, and generally helps you to be as engaged and informed as possible. Some exercises to strengthen surrounding muscles can help with recovery time. You can get started on these well in advance of the procedure.

The procedure itself is the same as you would receive in a traditional hospital setting. You will receive general anesthesia, where you are put to sleep for the procedure, and you can expect to spend 6-8 hours total at the facility where you will have your joint replacement. Typically the procedure is done using a minimally invasive technique which means smaller incisions and shorter recovery with less pain. The procedures done most often in an outpatient setting are hip and knee replacements.

When you wake up in recovery, you will meet with your surgeon, recovery nurse and a physical or occupational therapist who will make sure you have no complications and prepare you for your recovery at home with instructions. You will then receive whatever prescriptions are necessary before your follow-up visit. This normally includes pain medicine. You will then be discharged for your caregiver to take you home.

Once you are recovering at home, your medical team will check on you by telephone and answer any questions you have. A physical therapist will come to your home to assess your recovery and strength, and show you how to maximize movement to heal as quickly as possible.

Orthopedic surgeons offering same-day joint replacement are at the forefront of their field. Dr. Jeffrey Carroll and the team at Movement Orthopedics in Clinton Township, Michigan offer outpatient joint replacement with successful outcomes to satisfied patients who recover in the comfort of their own homes. If you have arthritis and are ready to explore the possibility of joint replacement, call Movement Orthopedics for an examination. Our friendly office staff is ready to assist at (586) 436-3785.

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