Upstate offers outpatient total knee replacement surgery at Community Campus

In just a matter of hours, patients can undergo joint replacement surgery in the morning and be home in time for dinner.

Upstate University Hospital is now offering total knee replacement surgery on an outpatient basis.

The Swift Knee program, as it’s called, will be available at Upstate’s Community Campus at 4900 Broad Road in Syracuse. Patients will have the patients the option of spending several hours in the hospital instead of an overnight stay for knee replacement surgery.

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 being discharged to home, 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.

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,” said Upstate orthopedic surgeon Dr. Timothy Damron. “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.

Prehabilitation routines may require that patients do exercises 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, one of three Upstate surgeons, along with Emil Azer, MD, and Robert Sherman, MD, who will perform the outpatient total knee surgeries.

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.

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,” Damron said. “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.”

Damron said 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.

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.

Total knee replacements are among the most common orthopedic surgeries in the United States. The procedure is often needed to relieve pain from osteoarthritis.

Upstate’s Community Campus was the first hospital in New York to be designated as a Center of Excellence for Hip and Knee Replacement surgery by DNVGL-Healthcare, a national hospital-accrediting agency.

Caption: Upstate orthopedic surgeons, from left, Timothy Damron, Robert Sherman and Emil Azer, will begin offering outpatient total knee replacement surgery at the Community Campus.

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