You can walk into a hospital or surgery center in the morning, and walk out that afternoon with a new hip or knee.
At Baylor University Medical Center, Surgeon Jay Mabrey says, “we’ve gotten it down to where we can actually measure your length of stay in the hospital in terms of hours not days.”
You’ll find the same treatment, at the Advanced Center for Surgery in Altoona, where Dr. Chris McClellan has performed more than 300 same day hip or knee replacements since 2012.
He says, “currently with the Department of Health, we are the only surgery center in the entire state of Pennsylvania allowed to perform outpatient procedures.”
And the orthopedic surgeon says no Pennsylvania hospitals do same day joint replacement either.
A new approach to anesthesia is behind the advancement. Patients receive a spinal block instead of a general anesthesia, a short-acting drug for sedation, and localized pain management, to cut down on the use of morphine and opioids.
Baylor anesthestiologist Dr. Ryan Hanson says, “if we can avoid that class of medications or reduce their use, then we are potentially increasing the patient’s safety as well as reducing the complication rate long term.”
Dr. McClellan says, “you have good pain control you can walk really well and your chance of a blood clot is so much less. In fact, it’s so low that we now simply use aspirin for blood clot prevention postoperatively.”
According to Dr. McClellan, most patients, unless they have severe heart or lung disease, could safely have same-day joint surgery.
He says the outpatient procedure costs a third of what it does to undergo joint replacement. He expects the number of same day joint surgeries to skyrocket, when it gets Medicare approval.