Joint replacement same-day discharge: What is it?

Archive, July, Month

Going home the same day as your surgery has its benefits. How safe is it?

The toughest part of a undergoing a joint replacement procedure with an orthopedic surgeon is often the first step: making the decision to have the procedure.

Many who suffer from debilitating, quality-of-life-limiting joint pain may still choose to forgo surgery out of fear of the stigma that they would have to spend a few nights in the hospital followed by several weeks of prolonged immobilization and painful physical therapy.

Thanks to updated surgical techniques and modern technology, those days are long gone. Orthopedic surgery isn't what it was 20 years ago. It’s not even what it was five years ago.

Now that you’ve made the decision to have a joint replacement, ask your surgeon about same-day discharge.

What is same-day discharge?

Same-day discharge, much like an outpatient procedure, has the patient returning to his or her home on the same day of their procedure.

Is it safe?

Research has suggested that returning home to continue recovering from a joint replacement the same day as the procedure is as safe and effective as staying in the hospital. Rates of complications are no more or less depending on the setting.

Is it right for me?

As part of a patient’s individualized joint replacement plan, the surgeon will recommend or recommend against same-day discharge. Generally, if a patient is relatively healthy and has adequate support at home, same-day discharge would be an option.

But the decision remains at the discretion of the orthopedic surgeon.

What are the benefits?

Patients routinely are more satisfied with their overall joint replacement experience when they can begin their recovery at home, and the risk for complications are no greater than when spending the night in the hospital.

What about pain management?

Understandably, a primary concern for any patient after a procedure is pain management.

Thankfully, advances in medication and technology have made recovery from joint replacement surgery quicker and less painful.

Additionally, patients will be seen and evaluated before they are discharged home. This will include an evaluation of patients’ home and lessons on in-home exercises to start a recovery.