After a big surgery, you’re likely wondering what your recovery process will look like. Will there be any side effects? How long will it take for you to recover? How long will you need to stay in the hospital? In most cases, undergoing total hip or knee replacement, same-day surgery is a safe option, according to new research.
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Outpatient surgery vs. inpatient surgery
If you are in relatively good health, you can breathe easy. Among folks in overall good health, the study of nearly 1.8 million patients found similar post-op complication rates among those who had outpatient joint replacement surgery compared to those who spent a night or two in the hospital.
“Careful patient selection is the key to success with outpatient surgery,” cautions senior study author Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
For example, older age can increase the risk for any surgery, “and so monitoring patients overnight may be beneficial,” notes Westrich, research director emeritus of the hospital’s adult reconstruction and joint replacement service.
And those with underlying conditions like diabetes or lung disease may also face a higher risk for complications, the research team found. “Inpatient surgery in such patients is probably more safe,” Westrich adds.
But “there is no doubt that these findings are definitive, and that outpatient surgery is here to stay,” he adds.
During the 2010-2017 study period, outpatient hip and knee replacements grew by an average of 16% and 11%, respectively, each year, the authors found.
Still, inpatient surgery remains much more common, Westrich acknowledges.
So what is truly better for total replacement surgery? Inpatient or outpatient?
Of the many patients the researchers followed, just under a third underwent total hip replacement, while the remainder had a knee replacement.
When averaged out, only about 3% of knee procedures and just over 2% of hip procedures were handled on