Same-Day Joint Replacement Surgery
With advancing technology and new pain management techniques, more total joint knee and hip replacement surgeries can be performed as outpatient procedures. Historically, these procedures required a hospital stay of more than two and sometimes up to seven days.
For 71-year-old Lee McGinnis of Wheaton, Illinois, an outpatient hip replacement was an ideal option. Lee’s orthopaedic surgeon, William R. Sterba, MD, says that while this approach was an option before the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s increasing in popularity as more people prefer to stay in their own homes if possible.
In fact, before the pandemic, 14% of hip and knee joint replacement surgeries at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital were same-day surgeries. That percentage has increased to 27% during the pandemic. Outpatient orthopaedic surgery is also available for shoulder surgeries at Central DuPage Hospital.
“With newer tissue-sparing techniques, advancements to reduce blood loss and swelling, and a better understanding of pain control, performing a total joint replacement as an outpatient surgery is safe and well-tolerated for many patients,” says Dr. Sterba. “The COVID-19 pandemic has helped that message resonate with people.”
Same-day joint replacement surgery starts with a detailed and multidisciplinary plan. Three weeks before he came to the hospital for his surgery, Lee’s discharge planning team took inventory of his individual needs, abilities and resources, and came up with a post-operative plan for his return home. The plan addressed everything from getting around to managing pain. Lee was even able to pick up his medications the day before his surgery to avoid a trip to the pharmacy after surgery.
“When I woke up from surgery, my physical therapist worked with me for a few hours to make sure I could walk, and get up and down stairs,” says Lee. “Then, an occupational therapist helped me get dressed to leave. I could walk at home with my walker that evening.”
The next day, a Northwestern Medicine physical therapist came to Lee’s home to continue his physical therapy. He stayed in touch with his care team on the phone throughout his recovery.
After a few weeks, Lee was able to drive himself to outpatient physical therapy. He purchased an exercise bike to use at home. As a former all-American track and football athlete from 8th grade to graduate school, he is looking forward to returning to exercise and golf with less pain. Lee had his other hip replaced approximately two months after his first replacement.
While some prefer it, same-day joint replacement surgery is not the best option for everyone. Talk to your physician to see if you are eligible for this type of procedure.