(As seen on WZZM TV 13) A lot has changed in the field since Dr. Robert DeMaagd began joint replacement surgery 30 years ago.
At that time, a knee or hip replacement would keep a patient in the hospital up to 10 days, but technology and the procedure have evolved over the years.
Since October, he and Dr. Thomas Matelic have performed nearly a dozen outpatient surgeries at Metro Health OAM Surgery Center.
A patient could arrive at the center the morning of the operation and be home by dinner.
More and more, he said doctors are viewing hospitals as where people go when they’re sick, completing tasks such as joint replacement in outpatient offices whenever possible.
“Hospitals are still important, but you’re not having everything done at the hospitals like it used to be,” he said.
The same-day aspect is important to patients because of cost savings and comfort of recovery, DeMaagd said.
In a hospital, there always will be an overhead cost that makes services more expensive. Outpatient facilities do not have many of those costs, he said.
“With limited health care dollars going into the future, I think it’s going to be important for us to think this way,” DeMaagd said.
A person recovering in the comfort of his or her home also reduces the chances of getting sick at a hospital, he said.
This type of outpatient procedure would only be possible for otherwise healthy patients, DeMaagd said. Someone with heart problems, for example, would have the operation in the hospital in case of complications.
The surgery center takes a “concierge” approach to caring for the patients of this procedure. All patients receive in-home visits and assessments several weeks prior to surgery.
Patients select a friend or family member to “coach” them through the process. Both attend a personalized outpatient total joint education class, which provides them with information about the surgery, a tour of the facility and meetings with the anesthesia care team and nursing staff.
Once the patient is discharged, care continues with follow-up phone calls, office visits and physical therapy.