Outpatient joint replacement is a surgery that does not require an overnight hospital stay. Joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which the worn, damaged surfaces of the joint are removed and replaced with new artificial parts. Your doctor may consider joint replacement if you have severe pain which limits daily activities and is not relieved with medications, injections, physical therapy, or other treatments. The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and restore the alignment and function of your joint.
Traditionally, joint replacement has been an inpatient surgical procedure. With the introduction of minimally invasive techniques, modern pain protocols, improved anesthetic techniques, and rapid rehabilitation protocols surgeons are able to perform joint replacement procedures on an outpatient basis. Outpatient joint replacement is exactly the same as traditional joint replacement but the patient is allowed to go home in the first 24 hours after the surgery. This allows patients to recover at home instead of overnight in the hospital. In some cases, a patient would spend one evening overnight at the surgery center. A nurse in the surgery center overnight stay unit closely monitors the patient’s condition and checks vital signs the same as what is generally performed at the hospital. Physical therapists are also available for in- home patient visits for several days to work with the patient on range of motion and flexibility exercises.
Not everyone requires or qualifies for outpatient joint replacement. However, for selected patients, outpatient joint replacement surgery is a reality. To be considered for an outpatient joint replacement, a person should have good health (free of any diseases), a high level of motivation during the rehabilitation process, and good family support.
The benefits of outpatient joint replacement over inpatient traditional joint replacement include the following:
With outpatient joint replacement surgery, patients are discharged from the hospital to the comfort of their own home following surgery and are provided with the support of an in-home nurse and follow-up rehabilitation services. Patients can often return to normal activities quicker and with less pain than with traditional joint replacement surgery.