UAB News reports that the University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital is now consistently offering same-day total knee replacement surgery. The UAB’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery currently performs more than 1,000 hip and knee replacements annually, and this number is growing. Dr. Elie Ghanem, an orthopedic surgeon at UAB and champion of same-day knee replacements states that an overnight stay for many of these patients is unnecessary and the sooner they can return to their normal routine and start physical therapy, the better. Patients who go home sooner are also at lower risk for hospital-acquired infections.
Patients must meet specific criteria to be eligible for same-day discharge. Those with heart or lung issues or that need social support at home are not eligible. Eligible patients must live within 90 minutes of the hospital, be medically stable, have pain under control and be able to walk 150 feet before being discharged.
Ghanem also comments that this advancement in joint replacement surgery is made possible due to innovations in anesthesia and the collaborative effort between physical therapy, nursing, anesthesia and the patients’ support system.
The UAB hospital has plans to expand the same-day discharge program to include total hip replacements in the future.