St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Matthew Levy writes a monthly column for the Cleveland Jewish News focusing on orthopedic issues, concerns and topics. His most recent column highlights how advancements in implant technology, surgical technique and pain management have ushered in a new era that allows many hip replacement patients same-day surgery and the benefits it provides.
The full text of his column is below or available here.
Gone are the days when hip replacement surgery required a multiple day hospital stay. Advancements in implant technology, surgical technique and pain management have ushered in a new era that allows many patients same-day surgery and the benefits it provides.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, experts estimated more than 1.2 million total joint replacements in 2020 in the United States. At the time, it was believed 10% would be done as an outpatient procedure. However, the pandemic has advanced demand and offering of outpatient procedures, which are expected to grow to more than 50% in five years.
It is important to note I do not recommend outpatient hip replacements for everyone. Not everyone is an ideal candidate, but many are, including those who are:
Motivated: Those with a positive attitude, have lost any necessary weight before surgery, and demonstrate a willingness to follow doctor’s orders and their physical therapy recovery plan.
Experience and research combined demonstrate multiple benefits for patients with outpatient hip replacement. Outpatient surgeries often utilize a less-invasive surgical approach, with a smaller incision that results in less pain than traditional surgery. In addition, those receiving outpatient surgery receive a long-lasting local anesthetic that enables pain control for up to two days afterward. Anecdotally, we also know that patients tend to feel more comfortable, more relaxed and sleep better, which impacts one’s measure of pain.
Less time in the hospital also means a lower risk of infection or exposure to disease, such as COVID-19. As meticulous as any hospital is in cleaning and disinfecting, there is always a greater risk of exposure simply because of the sheer number of people in the hospital with a wide range of illness.
All of this adds up to faster recovery times for most patients. Less disruption to surrounding muscle and tissue and less blood loss through minimally invasive surgery, along with fewer infections and longer-lasting anesthetic, all add up to a patient’s ability to progress faster with rehabilitation and more quickly return to normal activity under their doctor’s supervision.
And, finally, there is always the bottom line – cost. Outpatient surgery can save patients, on average, 30% to 40%. To put that in perspective, consider the typical in-patient hip replacement runs more than $30,000, which, as outpatient, translates to significantly less copay and expense.
Total hip replacement surgery is a highly successful surgery, whether as in-patient or outpatient. However, if you believe you are a good candidate for outpatient surgery, be sure to discuss as an option with your surgeon.
Dr. Matthew Levy writes about orthopedics for the Cleveland Jewish News. He is an orthopedic surgeon at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and practices in Solon, Independence and downtown Cleveland.
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.
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