ONONDAGA, N.Y. — Upstate University Hospital announced it is offering total knee-replacement surgery on an outpatient basis at its Community campus at 4900 Broad Road in Onondaga.
Under what the hospital calls its Swift Knee program, patients will have the option of spending several hours in the hospital instead of an overnight stay for knee-replacement surgery, Upstate said in a news release.
Doctors say patients will arrive at the hospital by 6 a.m. for surgery and be home by 3 p.m. Following surgery, and before they are discharged, patients will meet with their medical team, including a physical therapist, to go over at-home physical-therapy responsibilities.
Patients will begin walking on their new knee “immediately after surgery,” Upstate said.
Performing total knee-replacement surgery without a hospital stay is a “growing trend,” thanks to a decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove total knee arthroplasty from its list of inpatient-only procedures.
“We know there are patients who would much prefer to have this procedure done on an outpatient basis and avoid an overnight stay at the hospital,” Dr. Timothy Damron, Upstate orthopedic surgeon, said in the organization’s news release. “Now, Upstate is giving them that option.”
“Benefits” of outpatient surgery for total knee replacement include “greater attention” to pre-op preparation or “prehabilitation,” and the ability to recover at home in “familiar surroundings,” according to Upstate’s news release.
Prehabilitation routines may require that patients exercise to build supporting muscle strength, as well as making healthier diet choices or even losing a few pounds.
“The healthier a patient is prior to getting their outpatient knee surgery, the easier the recovery will be,” said Damron.
Damron is one of three Upstate surgeons who will perform the outpatient surgeries. The others include Dr. Emil Azer and Dr. Robert Sherman.
An added safety benefit of the Upstate program is that the procedures will be performed in the hospital’s operating suite, “not a freestanding surgery center,” Upstate said. Damron says doing the procedure in this setting “benefits” both the patient and the physician.
“Doing these procedures in this type of setting provides an extra level of safety for the patient,” said Damron. “If at the end of the day the patient does not meet the criteria for discharge, it’s a simple process for admission to the hospital for an extra day of recovery and rehab.”
If a patient who undergoes the procedure at a freestanding surgery center needs to be admitted to a hospital, the patient must be transferred by ambulance, Damron noted.
Some freestanding surgery centers across the country are now looking to incorporate inpatient stay suites to avoid such a transfer, should hospitalization be needed following an outpatient procedure, Upstate said.
Total knee replacements are “among the most common orthopedic surgeries” in the U.S. The procedure is often needed to relieve pain from osteoarthritis.
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