Outpatient knee replacement is a great way to get a patient in and out of the hospital on the same day. Not everyone qualifies or prefers this method, but many do. Outpatient total knee replacement is becoming more and more common. Many, however, do not know what to expect with an outpatient procedure and therefore just stick to inpatient. Outpatient procedures do have their benefits, so it is important to be informed. A good orthopedic surgeon, such as total joint specialist Kent Boese, MD, can help you decide the best option for your knee replacement.
Total knee replacements (also called total knee arthroplasty), both inpatient and outpatient, are very similar. The biggest difference is in where post-op recovery is spent and the length of a hospital stay. The process of a total knee replacement is the removal of damaged bone or cartilage and the insertion of a prosthesis. The healthy bone and cartilage are resurfaced to help with the support of the implant. So, after the removal of the damaged bone and cartilage, the new joint is fused into place. This procedure is intended to reduce pain and increase the mobility of the patient. The goal is an improved quality of life.
Some Benefits to outpatient total knee replacement:
- Lower infection rates
- Recover in the comfort of own home
- More Convenient
Outpatient surgery is an option because of less invasive surgical techniques, less blood loss, better pain control, and better anesthesia practices than were previously available. This allows people to be up and walking shortly after surgery. This is not a procedure that is appropriate for everyone, but through careful discussion with a fellowship-trained, Board Certified Surgeon, such as Dr. Kent Boese, a proper diagnosis and treatment plan can be decided.
Many people will ask the same question about newer procedures, is it Safe?
Many different studies have found that in the proper candidate, outpatient is just as safe as inpatient knee replacement surgery. A lot of it comes down to ensuring the surgeon is a skilled, trained surgeon. Overall, most studies do not find a major increase of risk from inpatient to outpatient. It is important to address any concerns or complications before or after the surgery with the surgeon or nurse navigators to ensure a better outcome and recovery for the patient.
One important thing to note about outpatient procedures is they can turn into an inpatient procedure if needed. This means that after surgery if something is questionable in the post-op evaluation, the surgeon can request the patient to stay overnight to be monitored. This helps resolve unforeseen complications that may have arisen. The patient will have a careful evaluation to be cleared for discharge to be sent home, but even once they get home, it is extra important that the patient have someone around to help monitor them in the case of complications. Communication is very important throughout the entire process.
A nurse navigator is there to help both in and outpatient knee replacement patients. The nurse is there to guide the patient through any problems or questions that might arise before or after surgery. The nurse is there to help put the patient’s mind at ease while helping monitor their recovery status for all knee replacements.
One important thing to note when choosing outpatient surgery is that it is extra important for the home to be prepared prior to the surgery. Because there is less immediate supervision following the surgery, the patient needs to be sure to eliminate potential causes of slips, trips and falls in the home.
There are risks involved with all knee replacements, but there are also so many benefits to people being able to walk around and be more mobile than they have been in years. Outpatient knee replacements have patients up and walking by that afternoon and on their way to recovery. Choose a surgeon that can help prepare you, educate you, and get you back out doing the things you love.
If knee pain is keeping you from doing the hobbies you love then it’s time to schedule an appointment. Miller Orthopedic is here to help you, give us a call at 712-323-5333 (Council Bluffs) or 402-991-9958 (Omaha) or click here to request an appointment.