Traditional Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement is the surgical treatment for knee arthritis. Surgeons remove the damaged portion of the knee, resurfacing the knee with metal and plastic components. This procedure was initially developed as an inpatient procedure. Patients would typically have a hospital stay of several days to recover, often requiring admission to a skilled nursing facility. The traditional total knee recovery commonly requires high doses of narcotics after surgery and patients may have a painful recovery.
Outpatient Total Knees
Outpatient Total Knees or "Same-Day Total Knees" are now possible with advancement in perioperative anesthesia, minimally invasive techniques, and early initiation of rehabilitation protocols after surgery. Postoperatively, our multi-modal pain medication regimen requires a lower use of opioid medications.
Our patients are now able to undergo rapid recovery from their outpatient total knee replacement. A "same-day knee replacement" is a total knee that the entire procedure and hospital stay requires a hospital stay that is less than 24 hours. Our rapid recovery protocols that decrease the amount of heavy-duty pain medications, enabling our patients to safely transition to recovering at home.
Why would I want to undergo an outpatient total knee arthroplasty?
- Recover at home - Patients are often more comfortable in an environment that is familiar to them. Going home allows our patients to avoid call lights, beeping IV equipment, other patients on the floor, and overnight nursing assessments.
- Higher Satisfaction - Undergoing a joint replacement in an outpatient surgery center leads to patients who are more satisfied with their overall experience.
- Lower rates of infection - Hospital and nursing facilities take care of very sick patients. Avoiding inpatient facilities allows our patients to avoid exposure to infectious organisms.
- More advanced care - Performing a surgery in an outpatient surgery center often allows more control by the surgeon over the patient's care and overall experience.
- Cost Savings - Avoiding an unnecessary stay in the hospital will lead to lower costs including paying for hospitalist and nursing services when they are not necessary.
Am I a candidate for an outpatient total knee arthroplasty?
Not all patients who undergo a total knee replacement are able to have an same-day total knee replacement experience. The most important criteria is that the patient is in overall good health without any serious medical conditions. All patients are assessed pre-operatively by their primary care physician and our pre-operative clearance staff. Lab studies and work-up by appropriate specialists are obtained. Our patients attend a preoperative joint class that will prepare you for your total knee replacement. This class discusses what to expect on the day of surgery as well as postoperative protocols. Postoperatively, our physical therapists will assess your ability to ambulate and your ability to be safe at home.
If at any point during the preoperative or postoperative care we decide that it is not safe for you to go home, we will have you admitted to the hospital until it is decided that you are safe for discharge.
Frequently Asked Questions about Same Day Knee Replacements (FAQ)
Can I go home on the same day as my knee replacement?
Your surgeon will evaluate your medical history and see if you are a good candidate to return home on the day of surgery. With modern medicine, anesthesia, and surgical technique, many of our patients are able to return on the same day as their knee replacements.
How long will I stay in the hospital after my knee replacement?
Traditionally, many patients stayed in the hospital 2 to 3 days after their knee replacement and then underwent rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility. Our surgical techniques have improved significantly and our pain control regimen after surgery allows patients to return home safely earlier. Many patients are able to return home safely.
How will I know if I am safe to go home after my knee replacement?
Your medical history will be carefully evaluated to ensure that you are a good candidate to return home on the same day after your knee replacement. After a discussion with your physician, we will decide if you can return home safely. We make sure that all of our patients work with a physical therapist to ensure that they can safely navigate the obstacles in their home before being discharged.
Does knee replacement require an overnight stay?
Some facilities deem an overnight stay as an "outpatient knee replacement". Some of our patients may elect to stay overnight or may have medical problems that preclude them from going home on the same day. We do allow many of our healthier patients to go home on the same day as their surgery.
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Meet Dr. Paul N. Morton, MD
Dr. Paul N. Morton, MD is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon in hip and knee surgery, specializing in robotic joint replacements, complex joint reconstruction, sports injuries, and trauma. Reach out to him to learn more about treatment options for your problem.
Written By: Dr. Paul N. Morton, MD
Post Published on May 22, 2019