19:36 PM

Speed of discharge after hip or knee replacement

Palm Beach Post "Ask the Expert" column features John L. Wang, MD, hip and knee surgeon at HSS Florida, discussing the length of time a patient is required to stay in the hospital following joint replacement surgery.

Dr. Wang explainedd advancements in surgical technique, anesthesia, and pain management have led to a significant decrease in the length of stay post-surgery over the past decade. Outpatient joint replacement, or same-day hip and knee replacement enables patients to go home on the same day of their procedure. The potential benefits of outpatient surgery include decreased medical costs, lower risk of infection, quicker return to normal activities and higher patient satisfaction, he noted. Candidates for outpatient joint replacement are reasonably healthy, have active, independent lifestyles and a good support system at home to help them ease into daily activities, counseled Dr. Wang. 

Additionally, outpatient joint replacement begins before the surgery itself, with a great focus on patient education, expectations and making sure the home is ready for the recovery period, he continued. The day of the surgery will sometimes include a physical therapy session to make sure the patient is ready to leave the hospital. Once the patient is home, home health services will provide continued nursing care and physical therapy, as needed. Patients are usually walking the day of surgery and return to most normal activities within a few weeks, added Dr. Wang.

This feature appeared in the print edition on December 20, 2020.