Same-Day Total Knee Replacement

Annual Bone & Joint Section

This joint replacement surgery is now possible in an outpatient setting.

Understanding Total Knee Replacement

When the knee becomes severely damaged, often by an injury or condition such as arthritis, it can become difficult if not impossible to perform even the simplest activities such as walking. If conservative methods are no longer helpful in managing limited mobility and pain, total knee replacement surgery may be recommended to provide relief and restore function.

Joint replacements are considered one of the most reliable treatments in medicine, with nearly 800,000 total knee replacements performed each year in the United States. Recent advancements have made total knee replacement surgery possible in an outpatient setting, allowing patients to safely return home the same day.

What to Expect

same-day knee replacement stitch

Prior to surgery, patients will receive local and general anesthesia to effectively manage their pain. The procedure will take one to two hours, during which a surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage and bone and replace it with a metal and plastic knee implant. Afterward, patients will remain in a recovery room until they wake up. They will then be discharged to return home with their designated caregiver.


Outpatient orthopedic surgery offers patients many benefits including the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques that spare healthy tissue surrounding the joint. It can also spare the high costs associated with overnight hospital stays, reduce the risk of infection, and cut down on delays and waiting times. With same-day total knee replacement, patients can take immediate control of their recovery as they heal and enjoy the restored function of their knee. Candidates for total knee replacement can consult with their doctor to determine whether
a same-day procedure is right for them.

An Expert Weighs In

“There are numerous benefits to same-day total joint replacement in appropriately selected patients. Many patients appreciate the ability to begin recovery in the comfort of their own home. Today, surgical techniques are less invasive, pain medications and anesthesia are more effective and durable with fewer side effects, and pre-operative education better prepares patients for the total joint journey. Although there will always be some patients who need inpatient care after their total knee or hip replacement, those who are willing and deemed medically appropriate for the outpatient approach may experience a faster recovery, reduced out-of-pocket expenses, and generally report a higher degree of satisfaction with the entire experience.”

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