Trend: Outpatient Joint Replacement



Faster recovery and fewer risks of infection when recovery begins at home.

As elective surgeries resume in Connecticut and throughout the Northeast, patients are thinking about their risk for infection as never before. This is one of the reasons surgical candidates are trending toward outpatient procedures at independent ambulatory surgery centers and recovery in the comfort of home. Demand for outpatient joint replacement surgery, in particular, is on the rise. By some estimates, the number of hip and knee replacements surgeries done as a same-day procedure will increase by 50 percent in the next five years.

Total joint replacement surgeons Jonathan Berliner, M.D., and Kevin Choo, M.D. at Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists (ONS), a leading provider of orthopedic and spine care, have noticed a significant uptick in patients opting for the hip and knee replacement procedures that don’t require a hospital stay.

“Innovations over the past several years in anesthesia, surgical techniques and therapeutic approaches have allowed joint replacement procedures to safely transition to the outpatient setting,” said Jonathan Berliner, director of the ONS Outpatient Joint Replacement Center. “Factor in the benefits of conducting joint replacements in facilities dedicated to the care of orthopedics and spine patients separate from those being relied on to treat COVID-19 and it may become a better decision for the patient’s overall health and the system as a whole.”

Years ago, patients would often remain in the hospital for 3-5 days after total hip or knee replacement surgery. Today, hip or knee replacement surgery for an otherwise healthy patient can be safely performed at an outpatient facility followed by at-home nursing and physical therapy.

“Advances in anesthetic techniques that allow for improved pain control and a more rapid functional recovery have been an important factor in reducing the amount of time a patient needs to stay in a healthcare facility following a joint replacement procedure,” said Dr. Berliner.

A successful and smooth outpatient joint replacement surgical experience relies on detailed preoperative planning of post-operative care.  At ONS all patients are provided a clinical team to support the process that along with the doctor includes a case manager and physical therapist who engage with patients at each step in the process. Good candidates for outpatient joint replacement are motivated to recover at home, have a reliable support network, and are otherwise in good health.

“Continually improving the recovery process for my patients has become one of my greatest interests,” said Dr. Berliner. “Joint replacements can be a life changing event. The ability to eliminate joint pain and restore a patient’s desired activity level and quality of life is what makes my job so enjoyable. These patients are our family, friends and neighbors who have been waiting for more than two months to address a serious health need.  I think it is important they understand that we will continue to address their needs as safely as we can.”

If you are a current ONS patient, or are in-need of an orthopaedic evaluation or consultation, please visit more information about your options.