Same-Day Knee Replacement ( Same-Day Discharge or Rapid Recovery Knee Replacement )
Simple daily activities such as walking, standing up, going up and down the stairs can become difficult to accomplish due to knee pain caused by arthritis. When the pain fails to respond to medication and physical therapy a doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery. However, thanks to advancements in surgical techniques, modern technology, and medications, knee replacement surgery can be done on an outpatient basis, also known as same day knee replacement.
Outpatient knee replacement is a type of surgery designed to ensure that the entire procedure and hospital stay does not last more than 24 hours. The goal of knee replacement surgery (inpatient or outpatient) is to relieve pain and increase mobility and get you back to your normal activities.
Same day knee replacement and traditional knee replacement are the same procedure, but the difference lies in the pre-op preparation, duration of the hospital stay, and the post-op recovery location. Knee replacement surgery involves removing the damaged or diseased cartilage and bone and replacing them with a prosthesis. During knee replacement the damaged part of the knee joint is removed, the healthy joint is buffered up and prepped for the prosthesis or implant (resurfaced), and the prosthesis is put in place.
This results in a disease-free new knee joint with less pain, greater function, and mobility as compared to the previous troubled joint.
Good Candidate for Same Day Knee Replacement
A good candidate for same day knee replacement is a person with arthritis and needs the procedure. He/she should also be in overall good health and not have any secondary health concerns that could increase the risks of the surgery. It is also an added advantage for the patient to have a support system at home to assist him or her during the recovery.
Advantages of Same Day Knee Replacement
- Advanced care and support: Same day knee replacement surgery ensures you have additional home nursing and physiotherapy support.
- Higher patient satisfaction: Patients tend to be more satisfied when a procedure is done on an outpatient basis and there is no need for hospital stay.
- Reduced risk of infection: A shorter stay at a hospital facility translates to lower risks of hospital infections.
- Home recovery: Patients tend to feel more comfortable when they are recovering in their own space.
Before scheduling the same day knee replacement surgery, it is important to be verified by your surgeon to see if you fit the criteria of undergoing the procedure. This includes screening you for underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and checking your BMI. If you happen to have an underlying medical condition, it has to be brought under control first before undergoing the surgery.
Once the same day knee replacement surgery has been scheduled, your surgeon will take you through the procedure and you can ask him/her any questions that you might have. You and your caregiver will also be taken through what you’ll be required to do after the surgery such as exercises, pain management techniques, and more.
You will need to make some adjustments at home for the recovery period such as decluttering to provide space for the physical therapy. You should also order the necessary medical equipment before the surgery so as to ensure that everything is ready when you get back home after the surgery.
Same Day Knee Surgery Procedure
Same day knee replacement surgery is under either general or regional anaesthesia and it can take slightly more than 2 hours to complete. Once the prosthesis is in place, your surgeon will perform a test on your leg by moving and bending it to see its flexibility and movement of the implant. When the surgeon is confident with the range of motion, the incision is closed and bandaged.
Post-op Guidelines After Same Day Knee Replacement Surgery
Immediately after surgery you will be kept for observation for a few hours. Bruising, swelling, numbness, warmth, and pins and needles are common experiences after undergoing knee replacement surgery, but they fade away with time.
How well the patient adheres to the physical therapy exercises determines his/her length of recovery. The exercises begin with something simple such as bending the knee to riding a bicycle after a few weeks. There should be improved mobility in about 4-6 weeks. The recovery after a same day partial knee replacement surgery takes about 6-8 weeks while that of total knee replacement takes about 2-3 months.
In general, knee replacements last for about 15-25 weeks, and it is advisable to avoid high impact sports such as basketball or football so as not to wear out the prosthesis quickly.
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