Same Day Joint Replacement

(And how it can make a big difference in your recovery)

More and more patients of all ages and physical conditions are learning that the key to success in total joint replacement, whether it be your hip or your knee, is to get back on your feet as quickly as possible and start rehab immediately. It sounds odd, right? How does it make sense that the key to better results is to get back on your feet within hours of having your hip or knee joint totally replaced?

For starters, the surgical techniques we use are better than ever, and constantly continue to improve. We also know that for most people, the body heals better when it’s active. 

When you’re having a total hip replacement or a total knee replacement, the surgical procedure is essentially the same whether you plan to go home on the same day or spend a night in the hospital. The difference will be in how you’re prepared before the operation and how you go about the process of rehabilitation afterward.

Patient Stories

Click here to learn how Same Day Joint Replacement worked for real Bellin patients.

What is same-day joint replacement surgery?

Same-day joint replacement is a process by which your care team is able to prepare you for joint surgery, perform the procedure, and send you home that same day without requiring an overnight — or even multi-night — stay in the hospital.

How is same-day joint replacement even possible?

Advancements in medical techniques, equipment, and experience have given surgeons many more options for providing patient care. Healthcare providers have discovered that thorough preparation prior to the surgery and prompt rehab following the surgery can be key to joint replacement with fewer surgical complications and faster recovery.

What’s the difference between traditional joint surgery and same-day surgery?

The biggest difference comes in the pre- and post-surgical process. In the days and weeks leading up to the surgery, the care team prepares the patient with education that will position them physically and mentally for quicker, easier surgery and safe recovery at home.

For the procedure itself, the patient receives the most modern anesthetic techniques that allow them to sleep peacefully through surgery and, when they wake up, move their new joint sooner than with traditional surgery. That way, Bellin’s physical therapists can start therapy right away, with a much shorter waiting period.

What are the benefits of same-day joint replacement over the traditional kind?

  1. Quicker independence
    Same-day joint replacement gets you out of bed and moving sooner. Our care team doesn’t send you home until it is safe to do so. We’ll ensure that you’re able to walk, navigate stairs and move around on your own before you go home. You should expect to be up and moving independently within hours of surgery.
  2. Recovery in the comfort of your own home
    You’ll eat better, sleep better and feel better in a familiar place. You’ll be more comfortable in a place you know with a support person you trust to help you out. And you’ll get to see that you really can function in your normal environment and will be able to get back to normal activity soon.
  3. Reduced risk of infection
    Hospitals work hard to maintain a safe environment, and Bellin Health has a long history of achieving extremely low rates of hospital-acquired infections. But those infections can happen, and the sooner we get you home, the lower your chances are of developing an infection from your surgery.
  4. More understanding and confidence
    Starting weeks before your procedure, we’ll prepare you with all the information you’ll need. We’ll also evaluate your personal health, your home environment and your social support, and we’ll provide you with a point of contact if you have any questions or concerns. No mysteries, no surprises.
  5. Less pain and faster recovery
    All of these factors lead to less pain and faster recovery after surgery. Your body responds to your mental state — when you feel prepared, when you aren’t anxious about the procedure and when you’re comfortable that you know what to expect in the days after surgery, your body will be better prepared for healing. That confidence throughout your recovery is known to lead to a quicker, less painful recovery for surgical patients.

Beginning physical therapy immediately is key to experiencing these benefits.

A critical part of ensuring your complete recovery is to start physical therapy as soon as possible. At Titletown Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, we take a comprehensive, team-based approach to caring for you before, during, and after total joint surgery. One of our specially trained physical therapists will begin working with you within hours after your surgery or within a day of you returning home. Our therapists are experts at helping a patient recover faster and regain full function in the joint, without pushing you past what you can do.

What is a nurse care navigator?

Your nurse care navigator is your primary point of contact to help you make a smooth transition through your joint journey. Think of your nurse as your guide. As you move through the process of preparing for, having and recovering from your surgery, your nurse will help you navigate to make sure you have a safe and positive experience. If, at any point, you have questions or concerns, you can know your nurse care navigator is there for you.

What should I expect when I have same-day joint replacement surgery?

In most cases, the process of same-day joint replacement surgery will look like this:

Before surgery

In the weeks leading up to the surgery, we’ll help you make some preparations that will set you up for an easier recovery.

  • Education. You’ll meet with your physician and your nurse care navigator to give you the information you need. You’ll be provided plenty of information from your surgeon, therapists, nurses and other care providers in the lead-up to your surgery.
  • Surgery Prepare visit. Our care team will physically evaluate you to make sure it’s safe for you to undergo surgery and recover at home. At this visit, you’ll also work with a physical therapist to see your physical capabilities and teach you to manage your personal home environment.
  • Therapy evaluation. A care provider will assess your home environment and social support. We won’t send you home before you’re able to walk independently and manage stairs, but a safe home environment and strong support system are crucial for your recovery. 

Your nurse care navigator will be there for you throughout the entire process.

The day of surgery

On the day of the surgery, you’ll come in calm, relaxed, informed and ready to go. You’ll receive an anesthetic, and the last thing you’ll remember is drifting off to sleep before waking up in the recovery room. While you’re asleep, one of our highly trained orthopedic surgeons will replace your joint. (The surgery takes 60 to 90 minutes, but that won’t matter to you.) You’ll also receive an injection that will help reduce pain and improve joint function for up to a day after the surgery.

After the procedure

Following the procedure, while you’re heading off to the recovery room, your surgeon will discuss the results of your surgery with your support person. When you wake up, our care team will be at your service. They’ll give you information, answer your questions and get you ready to start rehab.

One of our expert physical therapists will guide you through some light rehab and provide instructions for continued rehab at home. They won’t send you home until they’re confident you’re ready—you can walk independently, manage stairs and personally feel ready to go. Once our therapist has determined that you’ll be safe and comfortable at home, your care team will provide pain medication and prepare you for your at-home recovery, and then you’ll go home—all in the same day.

In the days and weeks following the surgery

In the days after, you will have some pain, which can be treated with pain relievers we’ll provide. You’ll also likely see some swelling and bruising around the surgical site, which is perfectly normal and to be expected. It’s important at this point to continue doing all the exercises your physical therapist recommended, on the schedule recommended—it isn’t enough to just do them occasionally. If you follow instructions and communicate with your care team if anything changes, you’ll probably be able to go back to light activity within a few weeks.

Know that we aren’t going to just send you home and forget about you. Your nurse care navigator will stay in contact with you following surgery. If you have any questions or worries, you have someone dedicated to helping you out. Also one of our joint replacement providers is on call 24 hours a day to answer your questions if you need to talk to someone outside of business hours. 

Who is a good candidate for same-day joint replacement?

Only your orthopedic surgeon can determine if same-day joint replacement surgery is right for you. With that said, good candidates share a few common traits. 

  • They’re in good overall health.
    Patients with uncontrolled chronic health conditions like diabetes, COPD, or some types of heart disease usually aren’t candidates.
  • They have a good mentality
    Patients who have a positive mindset for recovery, who have goals for their health, who want to get back to their former activities and who are ready to go are the best candidates for same-day surgery. Mindset matters – If a patient wants to get home, be around familiar things, eat better, sleep better and feel better after surgery, they’re more likely to be successful at doing it.
  • They have a good support system
    Support at home is important in the days after the procedure. Even though the patient will be ready to move around and climb stairs when they get home, it’s important to have someone to help out and to provide a sense of comfort and confidence for the patient.

Remember that your well-being is the greatest priority for your orthopedic surgeon. If your surgeon determines that same-day joint replacement surgery isn’t the best option for you, or if you decide not to have same-day surgery, you’ll still receive Bellin’s highest quality care with an overnight stay. But if you’re a good fit for same-day joint replacement, you may be able to get your new joint in the morning and spend the night in the comfort of your own bed.

Want to know more?

Want to know more about same-day joint replacement surgery? We want to help you. Our team of physicians, clinicians and nurse practitioners is ready to evaluate you. Taking the first step is easy. Just call 920.430.4888, and a member of our team will help you get the information you need.