Same-Day Joint Replacement?

Same-day joint replacement surgeries are increasingly popular. Beyond age, overall medical and fitness levels are also important.

“[W]ith the techniques and protocols we have, some patients are able to go home as soon as two to three hours after their operation,” says Ravi K. Bashyal, MD, director of outpatient hip and knee replacement surgery at NorthShore University HealthSystem. “But keep in mind, it doesn’t apply to everybody.”

Bashyal specializes in ultra-minimally invasive joint replacement surgery.  These muscle-sparing procedures result in the least amount of disruption to the soft tissues — less pain, less inflammation, and more rapid recovery. 

“The way we are doing these things lets them get up and back to their lives more quickly, but also decreases their use of opioid medication,” Bashyal says.

While there’s no age restriction, Bashyal recommends same-day procedures to those who are healthy, physically fit, and have adequate support systems. He estimates that approximately 30% of his joint replacement cases are outpatient. “It’s really comfortable to be able to sleep in your own bed, eat your own food, be around your own family,” he says. “Within a few days — or even a week — they’re off the heavy pain meds and getting back to their lives.”

During recovery, home health nurses and physical therapists provide care, building upon skills learned after surgery in the hospital. After one to two weeks, people choose how often they continue with physical therapy.

“It’s about working with them to the level of their enthusiasm,” Bashyal says. “We utilize the therapists to help accelerate that [recovery] process.”

Originally published in the Summer/Fall 2023 print issue.