What is outpatient joint replacement surgery?
If you’ve been suffering with the pain and disability of arthritis, deciding to undergo joint replacement surgery can be one of the most important decisions you make. Your choice of a surgeon is most important, but so is your choice of where your surgery will take place. Advances in technique and technology make it possible for joint replacement surgery to be a same day procedure, outside of a traditional hospital setting. Now, hip, knee and shoulder replacement surgeries are routinely performed in outpatient or ambulatory surgical settings such as the Stamford ASC. Patients go home to begin recovery on the same day as their procedure.
Thanks to new surgical and anesthetic techniques, outpatient joint replacement surgery is as safe as inpatient surgery for most patients. It may also offer a number of benefits. Research data shows that patients who undergo outpatient surgery can have:
a lower risk of infection
a faster recovery than patients who have surgery in a hospital
a more comfortable recovery in their home supported by family/friends
lower levels of anxiety and stress due to a coordinated post-operative clinical care team
Who is a candidate for outpatient joint procedure?
The best candidates for outpatient joint replacement are active, healthy and committed to getting back to their normal routines as fast as possible. They are:
- Motivated. The ideal patient has a positive attitude and will carefully follow the doctor’s post-operative instructions.
- In Good Health. Patients who are active, independent and healthy before surgery are often best prepared for the post-operative rehab process that is vital to achieving a full recovery. Additionally, patients who take few medications and are not managing other serious health issues are better candidates for outpatient surgery.
- Supported. Patients who have a support network of friends or family members to help out in the early days after the procedure will have an easier recovery.
How to prepare for surgery
Our specialists know that patients have better outcomes when they know what to expect and what they can do to enhance their post-surgical healing and recovery experience. The ONS Pre-operative Education Class provides comprehensive information about all aspects of outpatient total joint replacement for patients that are scheduled to have their procedure in an ambulatory surgery setting. The class is designed to educate patients and their families about pre-operative preparation and the entire surgical and rehabilitation process.
What to expect following the procedure
- A visiting nurse will be scheduled for the day of surgery and the following day to monitor your progress and assist with post-op care in your home. The nurse may return as needed to evaluate your wound and change the wound dressing. Your diet, hydration, medications and pain will be reviewed and any questions can be answered.
- A physical therapist will visit your home on the day of surgery and for the following five to ten days at regular intervals. They will provide a rehabilitation exercise program and schedule. They will also teach you the safest way to move through such daily tasks as getting in and out of the shower, bed, a car, etc. It is extremely important to practice your exercises and walking program several times a day as instructed. It is also very important to take your pain medication as directed to allow you to exercise on your own more effectively.
- You will use a walker for the first week or two, and then transition to walking with a cane.
- You will not be able to drive for one to four weeks, depending on which lower extremity is involved. Additionally, you cannot drive until you no longer take narcotics.
- You should avoid lifting or carrying anything over five to ten pounds while walking for the first four to six weeks.
- You should be able to resume activities as tolerated after three to four months, depending on your progress and your physician’s recommendation.
- Your new joint is designed for activities of daily living and lower impact sports such as walking, swimming and cycling. Aggressive sports, such as jogging, running, jumping or heavy lifting are not recommended as these activities may impair or compromise the function and long term success of your joint.
The ONS Total Joint Replacement Surgeons
The joint replacement surgeons at ONS are experts in their specialties. They are highly experienced in joint replacement procedures using smaller incisions and techniques that cause less trauma to the body. Patients now recover more quickly and regain independence faster.