Arthritis and Same Day Total Joint Replacement

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Arthritis affects millions of American adults every year. Once you’ve been diagnosed, Regional Health Orthopedic Surgeon Paul Miller, M.D., says it’s time to determine the best form of treatment. 

Doctors have been implanting artificial joints that offer pain-free motion for years. It’s been an arduous procedure, involving a long hospital stay and lengthy rehabilitation. But now, innovative surgical techniques offered at Regional Health make it possible for someone to receive a total joint replacement and go home that same day. Thanks to these new techniques, medical experts predict that by 2027, more than 50 percent of joint replacements will be performed in an outpatient setting.

The disease can truly be debilitating and painful. And unfortunately, it’s not preventable. Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints, causing chronic pain as well as swelling, stiffness and loss of motion. Arthritis can affect your hips, knees, back and even your shoulders. The pain can limit your everyday activities, and in some cases, your ability to work. The weather may contribute to arthritic pain. When there’s a change in atmospheric pressure, your arthritis might flare up.

With the outpatient/same day joint replacement, the admission, procedure and discharge all happen in less than 24 hours. The procedure can be done on knees, hips, and shoulders.

Miller says Regional Health used to keep patients in the hospital for two weeks and keep them on bed rest for one of those weeks. Then, they evolved to keeping patients overnight, with the patients using a walker the next day.

Now, patients can move and walk around on the same day of their procedure. To get to this point, there have been tremendous and innovative strides taken regarding pain management, surgical technique and implants.

Candidates for this procedure are typically young, former athletes who experienced an injury that led to arthritis. Candidates are still active and, for the most part, healthy. People with health problems such as diabetes or hypertension aren’t good candidates.

Miller says patients who receive a same-day total joint replacement pay less, and studies show patients are more satisfied with the care they’ve received and their overall replacement. There are also studies by medical professionals that show blood transfusions are lower, infections can be reduced and that patients who have outpatient surgery recover faster at home.

If you think you may need a total joint replacement, Miller recommends to first consult your primary care physician or contact Regional Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at 605-755-5700.

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