In a recent article in the Toronto Star, Dr. David Backstein operated on a patient at Women’s College Hospital who walked hours after a knee replacement. He went home on the same day as surgery and even was able to climb stairs prior to discharge.
The key to successful outpatient total joint replacement appears to be the use of modern anesthetic techniques that encourage early mobility, motivated and healthy patients, and effective multi-modal pain management strategies.
While there is a great deal of expertise and coordination involved in sending patients home using such a day-surgery model, the road to recovery requires further optimization of the home for navigating the post-operative journey. Early physiotherapy focusing on quadriceps activation, swelling control, and range of motion is critical to managing inflammation and encouraging mobility and function. With the right home physiotherapist, early gait training and attention to performing activities of daily can make the transition from hospital to home smooth and seamless.