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What to Expect When Having Same-Day Total Joint Replacement Surgery

by -

Andrew Rang, RN, BSN

So, you have made the decision to improve your quality of life and range of motion through total or partial joint replacement surgery

It is a daunting feeling for not only first time total joint replacement patients but many times for patients who are coming back for another replacement. 

How do I get ready for this? What should I expect in the hospital? How long will I be in the hospital? Will my insurance cover certain things? 

These are some of the many questions that run through people's heads as they are preparing for joint replacement surgeries.

Once it is determined by your orthopedic surgeon that a total joint procedure is needed, you quickly will be scheduled for surgery and have many appointments made for you and a lot of information will be thrown your way. 

It might seem like a lot but there is a lot that you, the patient, needs to know and prepare for prior to these surgeries. 

Through many medical advancements and our skilled orthopedic surgeons that partner with Finley Hospital, you might even be able to have your total or partial joint surgery and be safely discharged home the same day. 

This is a medical decision that involves many factors and is in between you, the patient, and your surgeon.

You will have an appointment with your primary care provider for medical clearance for surgery, a pre-admission testing appointment in which they will make sure your medical chart is up to date and give you some basic information about how to prepare for the surgery. 

You also will get a joint camp appointment with our orthopedic nurse navigator. It is an in-depth visit about how to prepare for this surgery, what to expect in the hospital and when you get out, as well as preliminary discharge planning and therapy. 

When you come in for same day surgery you start off, like everyone else, at the registration desk. You will spend a few minutes registering, before heading to your private pre-op room to prepare for your surgery. 

The surgeon and anesthesiologist will visit with you before your surgery. The surgery takes around an hour, give or take some minutes, based on complexity and the approach that the surgeon uses. 

From there, you head to recovery to recover from anesthesia and make sure you are medically stable, which might take up to an hour. After you recover, you will go back to a private room to recover until you are ready for discharge.

Physical therapy, and possibly occupational therapy, will work with you to make sure you are safe to return home the same day. 

After being discharged from the hospital, it is critical to have support from a caregiver at home for several days. This helps ensure a successful recovery from a same day total joint replacement surgery.

Based on your type of surgery and planned therapy, you will have plenty of follow-up support from your care team, whether it's from your surgeon's office, the orthopedic nurse navigator or a member of your therapy team. We are all here to help you with your post-op surgical concerns or questions. 

You will have regular intervals where you will follow-up with your surgeon as you continue to heal and get back to the quality of life you deserve. 

For same day joint replacement surgeries, recovery rates vary, but most are feeling great and have recovered well post-operatively in a one to three month span. Most patients are pleased with the decision they made to have same day total joint replacement surgery. 

Andrew Rang, RN, BSN is the orthopedic nurse navigator and post-acute case manager for UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital. He has been a case manager at Finley Hospital for six years and specializes in pre-operative education for total joint surgeries, as well as case manages patients who need to go into skilled care at one of Finley's partnered rehabilitation facilities. 

This article was published in the Telegraph Herald on November 22, 2021.