Total Knee replacements have come a long way. Previously patients stayed in hospital beds for weeks to recover only to then make their way into another physical therapy session. However, thanks to medical advancements, research, and technology, it’s now possible (and in some cases, preferable) for patients to have same-day total knee replacement surgery. Using this approach, the surgery is performed but patients are not, admitted to a hospital.
There is a deeper understanding of the medical risks associated with surgery risks and thus associated complications can be better gauged and minimized. Medical research and technology advancements now enable medical professionals with the ability to identify patients for outpatient joint replacement surgery with a validated and consistent tool. This tool assesses a patient’s individual medical condition and determines if they are at low risk or high risk for outpatient joint replacement surgery. With this information, medical professionals can identify suitable patients. Proper patient selection is vital to reduce a patient’s risk of complications.
We at G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine believe in the power of knowledge and so we are sharing frequently asked questions to better help patients understand this new program and evaluate their options:
Q: What is an Outpatient Knee Replacement?
A: An outpatient knee replacement, also called a “same-day knee replacement” the entire procedure and hospital stay lasts less than 24 hours.
Q: Are you the right patient for Outpatient Knee Replacement?
A: In a total knee replacement, the surgery itself is the same for inpatient and outpatient options. A strong candidate for outpatient surgery has the following:
- Motivation – a positive attitude and willingness to follow post-surgery instructions (maybe the most vital piece).
- Active Mobility – if you have an active and independent lifestyle before the surgery, you’ll automatically respond better to physical therapy and get back to your day-to-day quicker.
- Healthy Lifestyle – fewer medications you take or ailments you have the better.
- Support System – having a wide social network consisting of friends and family who are able to assist you after surgery will make the recovery process faster and better.
Ultimately, the best decision lies with your doctor and their team, please make sure to always consult your doctor for the best treatment option.
Q: Is Outpatient Knee Replacement Safe?
A: Current research suggests that outpatient knee replacement for the right candidate is as safe as inpatient surgery and presents no additional risks!
Q: Does outpatient knee surgery take place in a hospital?
A: An outpatient knee surgery replacement can take place at a hospital or an ambulatory surgery center. An ambulatory surgery center is a health care facility specifically designed for outpatient surgeries.
Q: What are the benefits of Outpatient Knee Replacement?
A: The goal of the outpatient knee replacement is to provide the same (or better outcome) as inpatient knee replacement whilst reducing costs, increasing patient comfort, and avoiding risks associated with staying at the hospital.
It’s been shown that an outpatient joint replacement will improve outcomes:
- Shorter hospital stay lowers the risk of postsurgical infection.
- Improved patient satisfaction: many patients would prefer to recover in their own homes. Having the ability to sleep in their own beds in their own homes is very appealing.
- Decrease in medical costs: outpatient surgery reduces the total cost benefiting the patient and medical provider
Q: What can you expect with Outpatient Knee Replacement?
A: To prepare patients for their surgery, the surgical team will inform and educate patients through in-person and digital communication. The surgical team will provide ample resources and educational material including pamphlets, smartphone apps, and videos. The process begins during the pre-operative phase and will continue until recovery. In addition to the in-person visits, patients can expect to use an application on their mobile phone for messaging, patient education, and recovery activity. Messaging within the application enables patients to communicate with their care team. Thankfully, there is always a team accessible via telephone giving instant access to caregivers and providers.
Q: What’s the recovery process for an Outpatient Knee Replacement?
A: After the procedure, it’s important patients, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, and home caregivers work together to make sure the designated home recovery plan is being followed by the patient. Patients will be guided through their recovery and supported through:
- Instructions on pain medication use
- In-person physical therapy and/or remote physical therapy using a smartphone app
- Oversight for complications infection or high pain
- Alerting the surgeon, his staff or the hospital of any issues or concerns in a timely manner
Doing Physical Therapy at Home
It’s clear that physical therapy is essential in any recovery process, however, it’s especially essential with the Outpatient Knee Replacement. Patients who undergo the out-patient surgery will be given specific exercises and closely managed to ensure physical therapy is being completed at home several times a day to enhance recovery and minimize the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Through the use of the MotionIQ application, patients will have the ability to perform remote physical therapy at home. This program will adjust the exercises based on the patient’s feedback. In addition, the care team can monitor a patient’s exercise progress. This convenient approach to physical therapy enables efficient recovery of normal activity.
Dr. Goradia at G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine offers the latest advances in knee surgery. He sees patients that have been looking for a second opinion, especially when knee surgery or total knee replacement is recommended. We treat every patient the same way we would treat a professional athlete.
Your knees are too important to risk the wrong diagnosis. Get the right diagnosis and customized treatment plan so you can get back to doing what you love.