For many people, the idea of joint replacement surgery can seem daunting. It may conjure thoughts of a long hospital stay or a painful recovery.
But what if that surgery didn’t require a hospital stay? What if it meant you would be up and walking shortly after the procedure?
With same-day joint replacement surgery, all that is possible.
“Most patients can move and follow commands right after the surgery,” says Matthew Grunkemeyer, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon with OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine practicing at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “We work closely with anesthesiologists and use less invasive techniques to help control pain and allow for quicker mobility.”
How does same-day joint replacement work?
One of the main goals of a same-day joint replacement is to make sure you can get up and move shortly after the procedure. Most who undergo same-day joint replacement can go home within a few hours after surgery.
To help with this rapid recovery, orthopaedic surgeons and anesthesiologists work together to develop a plan that reduces pain and helps you feel stable on the new joint. This plan usually includes a combination of general anesthesia, nerve blocks, and local anesthesia.
Orthopaedic surgeons also use minimally invasive techniques during the procedure, such as robot-assisted tools. These tools can help improve precision and allow for smaller incisions, which reduces blood loss and spares healthy tissue around the joint.
What are the benefits of same-day joint replacement?
“One of the most significant benefits of same-day joint replacement surgery is the ability to recover at home,” Dr. Grunkemeyer says.
“People tend to recuperate better at home rather than in the hospital,” he adds. “As long as it’s safe to do so, we want our patients to recover at home where they feel most comfortable.”
Because most patients start walking shortly after surgery, there’s also a lower risk of complications like blood clots. Plus, the surgeons’ minimally invasive approach helps with recovery — smaller incisions mean less pain and stiffness after the procedure. This means you can return to normal activities faster.
Will I qualify for same-day joint replacement?
Whether you’ll qualify for same-day joint replacement surgery depends on your overall health and medical history, says Dr. Grunkemeyer. Orthopaedic surgeons assess each patient individually to determine if same-day surgery is the safest and most effective approach.
“We look at it on a case-by-case basis,” says Dr. Grunkemeyer.
Should I delay my joint replacement surgery?
Although you may be thinking about delaying your surgery because of COVID-19, Dr. Grunkemeyer recommends sticking with your scheduled surgery plans. Hospitals are taking many precautions to protect patients from COVID-19. Plus, the same-day surgery means you’ll only be in the hospital for a few hours.
“A lot of patients get these surgeries because they can’t exercise, and not exercising has downstream effects on your cardiovascular, endocrine and metabolic health,” he adds. “It all comes back to mobility, which can preserve and improve health in many different ways.”
What same-day joint replacement procedures does St. Elizabeth Healthcare offer?
St. Elizabeth Healthcare offers same-day hip replacements, knee replacements, and partial knee replacements.
“St. Elizabeth Healthcare is a regional leader for these surgeries,” says Dr. Grunkemeyer. “We perform more same-day joint replacement surgeries than any other health system in the area.”
If you’re considering total joint replacement surgery and would like to discuss your surgery options, call our affiliated orthopaedic surgeons at OrthoCincy Orthpaedics & Sports Medicine at 859-301-BONE (2993).