Can total hip replacement be done as an outpatient procedure?
The short anwser is: Yes. The idea that a major surgery like hip replacement could be done without requiring an overnight stay in the hospital would not have even been considered 5 or 10 years ago at most places. However, using the anterior approach, total hip replacement is routinely being done as an outpatient procedure throughout the country. To succcessfully perform hip replacement in the outpatient setting multiple factors are necessary including selecting the right patients, using short acting regional anesthesia, and providing multimodal pain control. Typically healthier, younger, and more active patients are more appropriate for discharge to home on the day of surgery compared to older patients with multiple medical problems. We make sure to combat a patient's pain by adminstering medications that alleviate pain in multiple different pathways both preoperatively and postoperatively. We also use short acting regional anesthesia that allows for the patient to mobilize more quickly after surgery without many of the side effects of general anesthesia. When done successfully the outpatient anterior total hip replacement allows the patient to recover in the comfort of their own home without any increase in risk compared to an inpatient stay. The surgery can also be performed at an ambulatory surgery center that is more focused on the individual patient rather than in the higher volume and stressful atmosphere of the hospital where focused individual care can be more difficult.