There once was a time when knee or hip replacement surgery meant spending a week or more in the hospital, sometimes followed by time in a rehabilitation facility, then physical therapy and home exercises. Today, with advances in surgical techniques, pain management and early interventions, a hospital stay after replacement surgery may be as little as 24 hours.
For Sheritta Baker, of Jeffersonville, Ind., that was welcome news after learning she would need both kneesreplaced due to arthritis.
"Called 'accelerated rehabilitation,' the goal is to help reduce pain so the patient can start physical therapy on the day of surgery," said Cyna Khalily, M.D., orthopaedic surgery. "Ours is a unique program that makes it possible for patients to go home the next day. We've experienced very good outcomes and it's very well-received."
"With both of my surgeries, I was home the next day," Baker said. "The surgery is lessinvasive, so I didn't have much pain. And there's no comparison to healing in the comfort of my own home."
Anyone who needs knee or hip replacement is acandidate for accelerated rehab. There are no age limitations or selection criteria as long as patients are in otherwise good health, according to Dr. Khalily.
"It's a matter of the patient's expectations for recovery, "Dr. Khalily said. "Knowing what to expect before, during and after surgery, and having a support system in place upon their return home makes it successful."
While accelerated rehab is not mandatory and is each patient's choice, the majority choose to go home. In fact, 90 percent of Dr. Khalily's patients are home within 48 hours of surgery.
"This is very close to outpatient total joint replacement," Dr. Khalily said. "Home is the best place to recover." Baker seconds that notion. "I recovered very quickly," she said. "Now I can do everything I once was able to, and I have no pain!"