Being told you need a joint replacement can sound intimidating, but thanks to advances in technology, many joint replacements at Southeastern Med are now minimally invasive, high-precision procedures in which the patient has the option to return home the same day to begin their recovery. This ability to get back to familiar surroundings, as well as the availability of high-tech surgery options in the local area, can make a tremendous difference in a patient’s comfort and outlook.
“Outpatient joint replacements have become more common due to multiple factors,” explains Dr. Vanessa Voytko, an experienced orthopedic surgeon at Southeastern Med. “For starters, we have better pain control options that last longer, including oral pain medication given prior to the procedure and different injections that can be done intraoperatively to provide prolonged pain relief. To be clear, any joint replacement is still going to have some pain involved, but we’ve been able to greatly reduce the initial pain response after surgery.”
Dr. Voytko also notes that most patients are now encouraged to get their joints moving again more quickly than in the past, “which helps in the recovery, as well as decreasing pain.”
“Most of our patients now have physical therapy just a few hours after surgery. By staying ahead of the pain and working to control it with multiple modalities, patients are comfortable enough to be able to recover at home starting as early as the afternoon after surgery.”
Importantly, there are some variable circumstances that can affect whether a patient is suited for an outpatient joint replacement. This option is more likely to be offered, for example, to patients undergoing a “primary total joint” procedure; meaning that no previous surgeries have been done on the joint in question. Any patient qualifying for an outpatient total joint will also “need to have adequate help at home,” says Dr. Voytko, “because they will need some assistance moving safely, especially in the first few days. In addition, the patient will either need to have help with transportation to and from physical therapy (which usually starts a day or two after surgery), or arrange for a physical therapist to come to their house for the first few weeks to work on a recovery regimen. After two weeks they can then transition to outpatient physical therapy.”
For those who do qualify, having an outpatient joint replacement at Southeastern Med offers additional unique benefits; not only in the form of a highly skilled and experienced staff, but in everything a world class medical facility brings with it. That includes the ability to provide extra care and attention to a patient’s recovery whenever it’s required.
“At Southeastern Med, patients have the extra benefit of having a full hospital that where they can be kept overnight if any problem arises,” Dr. Voytko says. “For example, if the patient develops postoperative nausea, hard to manage pain, or any other medical issues after surgery, they are easily transferred and kept overnight until stable. Here they receive the same physical therapy as they would be receiving at home, as well as having the care of medical doctors in-house to monitor them postoperatively if needed.”
Want to learn more about outpatient joint replacement surgery and whether you might qualify? Call Dr. Voytko’s office today at 740.439.8886.