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“The key to a successful same-day total knee replacement surgery starts with careful patient selection,” says Scott Schoifet, MD, Virtua orthopaedic surgeon and medical director of Virtua’s Total Joint Replacement Program. “The ideal candidate is a healthy, active person, age 55 to 65 with no co-morbidities.
Patients arrive at the hospital at 7:30am and usually are ready to go home by 4:30pm. The whole procedure takes about an hour from first incision to close. “We use a minimally invasive technique that only requires a three-to four-inch incision, with no cutting of the quadriceps, using the same prosthetic device as in the larger incision procedure.”
While the majority of patients go home that same afternoon, in order to safely leave the hospital a patient must be able to walk up and downstairs, walk with a walker, and be comfortable with oral pain medication. “If someone’s pain is so severe that a nerve block is needed to eliminate the pain, then a patient ought to stay overnight for monitoring,” says Dr. Schoifet. Patients usually use a cane for two to seven days. After two weeks, 90 percent of patients walk on their own. Benefits include far less pain, less pain medication, less scarring and a much shorter recovery time.
Dr.Schoifet: “My goal is to offer patients a pain-free, functioning knee in the safest, shortest possible time. For some, same day total knee replacement is the right answer.”