How You Can Get a New Knee and Go Home the Same Day
Mar 10, 2022
Sutter Health
Doctor looking at a knee X-ray on a tablet

By Melissa Fuson, Vitals contributor

Every year in the United States, about 1 million people have surgery to help relieve pain and restore mobility in their hip or knee. For many people, an ambulatory surgery center offers a safe, convenient option for the procedure.

“Ambulatory surgery centers perform outpatient surgeries using the same technology, staff and expertise as hospitals,” explains orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nikhil Tendulkar, who performs total joint replacement surgeries at Sutter Alhambra Surgery Center, where patients can go home the same day as their surgery.

Doctors look at several factors to determine if a person is a good candidate for these so-called “same-day” joint replacement surgeries, including age, weight, overall health, stability and strength.

“Each patient is unique,” Dr. Tendulkar says. “For many people, an outpatient procedure is an excellent choice—and patients are able to go home within hours.”

Avoiding a hospital stay is not just a matter of personal preference; many patients report a faster recovery period, less stiffness, greater mobility, and a quicker return to normal activity when they recuperate at home. Same-day joint replacement patients are encouraged to start rehab therapy and get mobile soon after surgery and are given proper support to manage post-surgery pain at home.

How Is a Joint Replacement Procedure Performed?

Joint replacement surgery involves cutting away damaged bone and cartilage and replacing it with an artificial joint (prosthesis) made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.

Surgeons may use a variety of joint replacement prostheses and surgical techniques—including robotic technology. This advancement in orthopedics allows surgeons to provide each patient with a personalized surgical experience based on his or her specific diagnosis and anatomy.

“Using a virtual 3D model, we create each patient’s surgical plan before entering the operating room,” says Sutter Medical Foundation Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Harinder Dhanota. “During surgery, we validate that plan and make any necessary adjustments while guiding the robotic arm to execute that plan.”

Ten Sutter-affiliated ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals offer same-day joint replacement procedures throughout Northern California.

Quality in Joint Replacement

Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s Blue Distinction program identifies facilities that excel in delivering safe, effective treatment for specialty procedures, such as knee and hip replacements.

Currently, 13 Sutter-affiliated hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers have received a Blue Distinction Honor in knee and hip replacement surgery. They are:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Summit Campus
  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center-Alta Bates/Herrick Campus
  • Eden Medical Center
  • Mills Peninsula Medical Center
  • Novato Community Hospital
  • Sutter Alhambra Surgery Center (ASC)
  • Sutter Davis Hospital
  • Sutter Medical Center Sacramento
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital
  • Sutter Sierra Surgery Center (ASC)
  • Sutter Surgical Hospital North Valley (Surgical Hospital)
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center
  • Sutter Tracy Community Hospital

Recognition as a Blue Distinction Center in 2022 is based on performance data from care delivered in 2020.

Note: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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