At ROC we provide solutions for numerous pain points in an ever-changing environment. Patients frequently ask what has changed lately in the world of hip and knee replacement surgery. They are usually referring to changes in the implants, or asking if the longevity of implants has improved. In reality, the biggest and most exciting change over the last 5 years in the field of hip and knee replacement surgery has been in the location of the surgery itself.

Since the advent of joint replacement in the 1970s, these procedures have traditionally been performed in hospitals. For many years, this was the only viable option. The surgeries originally took several hours to perform, and rehabilitation and pain management protocols were completely overlooked and given very little emphasis. A lot has changed since then.

Advances in Joint Replacement

There have been several advances over the years to improve patient outcomes with hip and knee replacements, which eventually led to the development of outpatient hip and knee replacements.

Shorter Hospital Stays:

In the early 2000s, orthopedics began to focus more on patient satisfaction and the quality of the recovery experience. We found that patients could return home just 3 days after surgery. They did not have to stay in the hospital for 10 days to 2 weeks, and they could go directly to their home, rather than stay at a skilled nursing facility for weeks after discharge.

This was considered a huge leap forward. We then began to realize that how a patient experienced their recovery, particularly how well their pain was controlled and how quickly they began to move around, had a huge impact on their complete recovery and long-term satisfaction with their hip or knee replacement.

Improved Pain Management:

We also made huge advancements in pain management during this time period. We realized as an industry that narcotic pain medication, while necessary to a degree during recovery, was not ideal as a sole pain management tool. The concept of multimodal pain management began to take hold.

We developed an amazing synergy between this new method of pain control, physical therapy, and patient participation after hip and knee replacement surgeries. People were waking up from surgery without severe pain and start moving around right away. They were not suffering from debilitating nausea, vomiting, and dizziness (very common previously). They could eat full meals within hours of surgery, and they did not need to be hooked up to IV poles or urinary catheters. Soon, patients were leaving the hospital routinely the morning after their surgeries.

Outpatient Hip & Knee Replacements:

The next logical progression in this paradigm shift was to question why these procedures even had to be done in the hospital at all. We found that many patients could avoid staying even overnight at the hospital and recover from the comfort and security of their own homes.

We knew that for years, many orthopedic surgeries were done away from hospitals with great success—rotator cuff repairs, knee ligament repairs, most hand surgeries, and many types of fracture repair. When we moved hip and knee replacement procedures into outpatient surgery centers, we also had great outcomes. Moving these surgeries to outpatient surgery centers benefited the patients and the surgeons.

The benefits of outpatient joint replacement were clear:

      • Avoiding a hospital stay – Hospitals are built to care for the sick. Hip and knee replacement patients are not sick. They are healthy people that need a skilled care team and excellent surgical facilities.
      • Decreased risk of infection – Since patients are not staying in a hospital with sick people, their risk of infection decreases.
      • Recovery in the comfort of your own home – Most patients feel more comfortable in their own homes. They can get up and move around, and have visitors whenever they’d like.

To learn more about joint replacement with ROC Specialists, please see our information here.