Is Outpatient Joint Replacement Surgery Right for You?

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If you are one of the millions of people in this country with persistent hip or knee pain that is not responding to conservative treatments like medications and physical therapy, you may be considering joint replacement surgery.

With new surgical advancements and minimally invasive techniques, total joint replacement (TJR) is often a great treatment option that can restore quality of life and allow people to return to the active lifestyle they love.

And now, for some patients, the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis, meaning they are discharged the same day to recover in the comfort of their own home. In addition to generally enhancing the patient’s overall experience, recovering at home and avoiding a hospital stay may offer several benefits, including:

  • Faster return to normal activities
  • Possible reduced risk of hospital acquired infections
  • Possible reduced risk of hospital readmission and postsurgical complications
  • Potential cost savings when compared to an inpatient procedure/recovery

Who is Eligible For Same-Day Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery?

“Patient safety is our No. 1 priority and not everyone will be a candidate for outpatient joint replacement surgery,” says orthopedic surgeon Steven Fitzgerald, MD. “In addition to considering the patient’s personal preference and comfort level with an at-home recovery, there are several criteria that must be met before a patient is approved for an outpatient joint replacement procedure."

Only those patients for whom minimally invasive surgical techniques can be used will be eligible to recover at home, Dr. Fitzgerald says. In addition, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Health: You must be in good general health without significant medical problems that would require monitoring in a hospital setting.
  • Engagement: You must be actively involved in your own care plan and motivated to participate in a rapid recovery protocol at home, including post-surgical physical therapy.
  • Support System: You must have an adequate support system at home to ensure the home environment is safe and that you have the resources and support you will need for a successful recovery.
  • Pain Management: Your team must determine that you and your support team will be able to adequately manage your pain at home.

How Do I Know If Joint Replacement Surgery Is Right for Me?

Hip, knee and other joint pain can be caused by injuries, conditions such as arthritis, and every day wear and tear over time. Regardless of the cause, when joint pain and stiffness begin to interfere with your quality of life and are not responding to other more conservative treatment methods, it may be time to consider joint replacement surgery.

At University Hospitals, orthopedic specialists carefully review your medical history, including past treatments, and discuss your personal goals and objectives before making a decision to proceed with surgery. 

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Our fellowship-trained joint surgeons employ the latest technologies and materials for joint replacement procedures, using minimally invasive techniques for faster recovery and less pain. We perform thousands of joint replacements each year and are consistently recognized as one of the best programs in the nation. UH offers in-person and virtual orthopedic consultations. Learn more about joint replacement surgery at University Hospitals.

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