Considering knee replacement? Learn about outpatient surgery.



Knee pain keeps a lot of people from doing the things they want (and need) to do. That’s why more than 700,000 people a year in the U.S. undergo knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement is a major operation and usually requires at least one night in the hospital.

Now, though, there’s an alternative to the traditional, hospital-focused knee replacement surgery. Some patients are candidates for Capital Orthopaedics’ outpatient approach to knee replacement surgery.

Outpatient knee surgery is usually done in a surgery center. Patients get to go home the same day of the surgery — usually without any time at all in the hospital. In addition to letting patients sleep in their own beds from day one, outpatient knee surgery could help people on high-deductible insurance plans save thousands of dollars in hospital costs.

What’s the difference?
So what’s the main difference between inpatient and outpatient knee replacement surgery? It isn’t the surgery itself. It’s the way pain is controlled — even before the surgery.

“We use a combination of medications before and during surgery to block pain at several different sources,” explains Dr. Mark Fish, an orthopedic surgeon with Capital Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. “That helps us to keep pain controlled after surgery — so patients are comfortable going home instead of having to spend a night or two in the hospital.”

Physical therapy is still important

Physical therapy is key for successful recovery from any knee replacement surgery. Before the surgery, Dr. Fish and the physical therapists at Capital Ortho work with patients to make sure they understand the physical therapy process and what they’ll need to do. After surgery, patients work with their Capital Ortho physical therapist and Dr. Fish to strengthen the knee and progress toward full mobility.

Who’s eligible for outpatient knee replacement surgery?

Outpatient knee replacement surgery is best for patients who are otherwise healthy and are committed to working at physical therapy. In general, younger patients are better candidates, although age alone isn’t necessarily a limiting factor.

Benefits of outpatient knee replacement surgery

The benefits of outpatient knee replacement surgery include:

  • Convenience and comfort. With outpatient surgery, patients get to go home and sleep in their own beds instead of staying overnight at the hospital.
  • Better outcomes. Studies show that outpatient joint replacement surgeries tend to have better results.
  • Lower cost. Generally, the cost of outpatient knee surgery is at least 30% less than traditional knee surgery that involves a hospital stay. That can translate into a savings of thousands of dollars — in some cases $15,000 or more. For people on high-deductible health insurance plans, much of this savings can go directly to them.

    Usually covered by insurance

    Outpatient knee surgery is covered by most insurance plans. It isn’t yet covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Ask your insurance provider about their coverage of this procedure.

    Only available at Capital Ortho

    Dr. Fish has more than five years of experience performing knee replacement surgery on an outpatient basis. He also performs hip and shoulder replacement surgery on an outpatient basis. To schedule an evaluation with Dr. Fish, give us a call at (515) 440-2676.

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