Knee pain related to joint damage caused by conditions such as arthritis or long-term damage from injury is a problem for millions of people. The pain and limited mobility comes to affect quality of life in a negative way, including relationships, work and leisure activities. Although some people are able to find the relief necessary to engage in a healthy and active lifestyle through conservative treatment, others go weeks and months without finding improvement. 

In this situation, surgery can start to become a serious consideration. However, many people are reluctant to undergo knee procedures such as knee replacement surgery due to the risks and difficulties associated with traditional knee replacement surgery performed in a hospital setting. Fortunately, there is an alternative in the form of outpatient knee replacement surgery. 

To learn more about what minimally invasive outpatient surgery is and the benefits of outpatient knee replacement, take a moment to read the following guide. If you have any questions or want to learn more about finding relief from knee pain, feel free to reach out to a member of the Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America (OJRCA) team today. 

What Is Outpatient Knee Replacement?

Outpatient surgery, whether performed in an ambulatory surgery center or a hospital, is an approach to surgery that does not require patients to stay overnight in a hospital. This is made possible through minimally invasive techniques and pain management protocols that allow patients to be up and moving in less time after undergoing surgery. For example, orthopedic surgeons can use microsurgical technology such as an arthroscope as well as soft tissue-sparing techniques that allow for a smaller incision. 

With outpatient knee replacement surgery, surgeons are able to access the knee joint, remove damaged joint surfaces and replace them with a durable implant with less disruption to surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments compared to traditional inpatient knee replacement. This allows for a streamlined procedure that offers many potential benefits to patients.     

What Are the Major Benefits of Outpatient Knee Replacement Surgery?

The goal of any minimally invasive, outpatient procedure is for patients to experience less pain, need less narcotics in the postoperative phase and be up and moving faster to begin the all important recovery process. 

With outpatient knee replacement surgery, patients benefit from the following:

  • Lower Risk of Certain Complications — The ability to perform knee joint replacement surgeries in an outpatient setting greatly reduces a patient’s risk of infection as compared to having surgery in a traditional hospital. Additionally there is less surgical scarring due to the smaller incision.
  • Shorter Recovery Times — Minimally invasive procedures shorten the duration in which patients are under anesthesia. Additionally, a refined approach to postoperative pain management enables patients to be up and walking within one to two hours from the completion of a knee replacement procedure. Smaller incisions and less muscle disruption can also be associated with a faster healing time. 
  • Increased Potential for Improved Outcomes A rapid recovery protocol for quicker mobility can decrease the risk of blood clots and other postoperative complications. This puts them on a path to recovery and return to regular activity in a shorter time period compared to traditional inpatient joint replacement surgeries.

What’s more, outpatient surgery also offers a convenient and streamlined patient experience. Instead of overnight hospitalization, patients can recover in the comfort of their home or a hotel with a family member or other care partner. 

Who Is a Candidate for Outpatient Knee Replacement Surgery?

For patients diagnosed with arthritis or injury that is causing joint pain and damage in the knee, doctors will generally first recommend fully attempting conservative treatment options. This includes rest, hot/cold therapy, certain lifestyle and activity adjustments, physical therapy, pain-relieving injections. In some cases, regenerative treatments such as viscosupplementation or amniotic injections may also help improve function and offer pain relief. 

In general, patients who are candidates for outpatient knee replacement surgery meet the following criteria: 

  • A diagnosis with osteoarthritis or post-traumatic arthritis of the knee 
  • Continued pain and dysfunction despite weeks or months of conservative treatment
  • Symptoms  that include swelling in the knee, a feeling of warmth in the joint, joint stiffness and/or pain that worsens with activity
  • For patients considering partial knee joint replacement, a diagnosis of a stable anterior cruciate ligament (ACL,) sufficient range of motion and joint damage limited to one compartment of the knee

Patients must also be free of certain medical conditions that would require monitoring in a hospital, such as cardiovascular conditions. 

After undergoing outpatient knee replacement surgery, patients will receive full and detailed instructions for the recovery process. This includes how to care for the incision site, when to resume activities and any signs that require contacting the surgical provider. Patients will typically have follow up appointments to monitor the progress of the recovery. It is critical for a positive outcome to follow all postoperative instructions and complete any necessary rehabilitation to ensure proper healing and the regaining of function in the knee.  

The OJRCA Difference

At OJRCA, board-certified surgeon and Medical Director, Dr. Philip Clifford, MD, has helped thousands of patients find relief with outpatient joint replacement surgery. OJRCA’s highly unique multimodal pain management and anesthesia protocols enable outpatient knee replacement surgery that gets you back to the people and activities you love. 

These methods can even benefit patients who do require an inpatient procedure due to the presence of medical conditions. At our state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center, we can perform outpatient total knee replacement and partial knee replacement surgery. We’re committed to helping everyone who comes to us find the relief they deserve and a return to a healthy and active lifestyle. 

To learn more about becoming a candidate for outpatient knee replacement surgery or any other way we can help you develop a personalized treatment plan, contact the caring and dedicated team at OJRCA today. You can reach out online or call us at 813-492-4607.


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