When it comes to regaining mobility and relieving pain associated with knee or hip conditions, joint replacement surgery has proven to be a transformative solution for many individuals. These procedures usually required several days of hospitalisation. However, advancements in medical techniques and technology have made same-day knee and hip replacements a viable option for select patients.
In this article, we will explore the mechanics and benefits of knee and hip replacements, with a particular focus on the feasibility and advantages of same-day operations.
Sydney Hospital Offers Same Day Surgeries
The possibility of a same-day knee- or hip-replacement operation came to light when the East Sydney Private Hospital (ESPH) in Woolloomooloo opened a new advanced surgical theatre. The new facility aims to drastically reduce stays for knee/hip replacements through minimally invasive surgeries and improved post-operation recovery.
“We have enhanced recovery after surgery protocols which allow patients on average to go home after two to three days and we’re now moving to a same-day model of care,” Dane Browne, East Sydney Private Hospital CEO.
Under data from the National Joint Replacement Registry, improvements in surgical techniques and quality of treatment over the past 15 years helped reduce the length of stay time from seven days to as little as four days.
While Australia is highly active in the field of knee- and hip-replacement operations, the long waitlists and the complications generated by the COVID19 pandemic strained the public healthcare services.
What are Knee and Hip Replacements?
Knee replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged or worn-out surfaces of the knee joint with artificial components. The procedure aims to alleviate pain, improve function, and enhance the quality of life for individuals with conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or severe knee injuries.
During the surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged cartilage and bone, subsequently introducing a synthetic joint composed of metal alloys, high-quality plastics, and polymers.
Hip replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged or diseased parts of the hip joint with artificial components. It is typically recommended for individuals with conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, or hip fractures.
The procedure entails removing the damaged femoral head and socket and replacing them with prosthetic components, allowing for improved joint function, reduced pain, and enhanced mobility.
How do Same-day Knee and Hip Replacements Work?
Patient Selection and Preoperative Assessment
Same-day knee and hip replacements are suitable for carefully selected patients who meet specific criteria. A comprehensive preoperative assessment is conducted to evaluate the patient’s overall health, medical history, and functional status.
Factors such as age, body mass index (BMI), underlying health conditions, and social support are considered to ensure the patient’s safety and suitability for the procedure.
Advanced Surgical Techniques and Anaesthesia
Advancements in surgical techniques, such as minimally invasive procedures, have made same-day knee and hip replacements feasible. These techniques allow for smaller incisions, reduced tissue trauma, and faster recovery.
Additionally, advancements in anaesthesia have facilitated improved pain management and reduced postoperative nausea and vomiting, enabling patients to undergo surgery and return home on the same day.
Personalised Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy
Rehabilitation and physical therapy play a crucial role in the success of same-day knee and hip replacements. Prior to the surgery, patients receive detailed instructions and education on preoperative exercises and postoperative care.
Following the procedure, a personalised rehabilitation plan is implemented, including exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve joint mobility, and optimise functional recovery. Physical therapists work closely with patients to ensure a smooth transition and facilitate the healing process.
Enhanced Recovery Protocols
Same-day knee and hip replacements incorporate enhanced recovery protocols, which encompass a comprehensive approach to perioperative care. These protocols focus on optimising pain management, reducing the risk of complications, and promoting early mobilisation.
Protocols may include strategies such as regional anaesthesia techniques, multimodal pain control, early oral intake, and ambulation. All of these aimed at enhancing patient comfort, facilitating recovery, and enabling same-day discharge.
Benefits of Same-day Knee and Hip Replacements
Same-day knee and hip replacements offer a feasible and beneficial option for select patients seeking improved mobility and pain relief.
- Reduced hospital stay. Same-day knee and hip replacements allow patients to undergo surgery and return home on the same day, reducing hospitalisation duration and associated costs.
- Faster recovery. Minimally invasive techniques, personalised rehabilitation plans, and optimised pain management contribute to faster recovery and return to daily activities.
- Improved patient satisfaction. Same-day knee and hip replacements offer the convenience of receiving surgery and recovering in the comfort of one’s own home, leading to increased patient satisfaction. Being in a familiar environment can contribute to a more positive overall experience and emotional well-being.
- Lower infection risk. By spending less time in the hospital, patients are exposed to a reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections, promoting better postoperative outcomes.
- Cost savings. Same-day knee and hip replacements can potentially result in cost savings for patients and healthcare systems. Shorter hospital stays and reduced postoperative care can lead to decreased healthcare expenses.
- Quicker return to normal activities. With faster recovery and rehabilitation, patients can resume their normal daily activities, including work, hobbies, and social engagements, at an earlier stage compared to traditional hospital stays.
- Enhanced quality of life. Knee and hip replacements have been proven to significantly improve pain relief, joint function, and overall quality of life. Opting for same-day procedures can help patients experience these benefits sooner and enjoy a more active and fulfilling lifestyle.
- Reduced dependence on opioid medication. Same-day knee and hip replacements emphasise multimodal pain management techniques, aiming to minimise the need for opioid medication. This approach helps mitigate the risks associated with prolonged opioid use, such as addiction and side effects.
- Personalised care. Same-day knee and hip replacements involve close collaboration between patients, surgeons, anaesthesiologists, and rehabilitation professionals. This coordinated approach ensures that each patient receives personalised care and attention throughout the entire treatment process.
With advancements in surgical techniques, anaesthesia, rehabilitation protocols, and enhanced recovery programs, patients can now undergo these procedures and return home on the same day. However, please note that not all patients are suitable candidates for same-day procedures, and individual assessments and recommendations from healthcare professionals are necessary in determining the appropriateness of this approach.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
Retirement comes with substantial expenses, and to find financing is a significant consideration for many retirees. One potential option worth exploring is the ASAG Reverse Mortgage, which provides a way to unlock your home equity without ongoing payments or selling.
Through a reverse mortgage, homeowners have the opportunity to receive regular payments based on the assessed value of their home. The loan is payable when the property is sold or upon the borrower’s passing. The funds can be used to meet retirement goals, including medical expenses.
Additionally, you have the option to use our calculator below to determine your available equity.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace official medical advice. The Australian Seniors Advisory Group has no relationships with any individual or company mentioned in the article. Please consult your physician for your options.