Influence of outpatient total knee arthroplasty compared to inpatient surgery on medical and economic outcomes


Total knee arthroplasty ; outpatient ; fast-track program ; complications ; discharge criteria

Published online: Jun 15 2021

Vincent Tomasi, Alex Demurie, Ignace Ghijselings, Olivier Cornu, Hans Van Den Wyngaert

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, AZ Alma, Eeklo, Belgium


Firstly, this study compared the rate of readmission after a total knee arthroplasty between selected out- patients (no hospitalization, directly sent home after surgery) and inpatients (3 days hospitalization) at 6 weeks. Secondly, it examined the mobility and the complications in the two groups after the same period of time.

The rate of readmission, complications and knee mobility of 32 outpatients (M-age : 61 years ± 10 ; 10 females), were compared against those of 32 birth- matched inpatients (M-age : 64 years ± 8.6 ; 10 females).

No patient was re-admitted in either group. Post- surgical complications included one hematoma resorbed at 6 weeks in the outpatient group and three joint effusions in the inpatient group. There were no instances of deep venous thrombosis, failure of primary fixation, infection, or wound dehiscence. Knee mobility was identical between the two groups.

This is the first study to compare inpatient and outpatient total knee arthroplasty in a Belgian setting. Our study suggests that day-care total knee arthroplasty in selected patients is possible without increasing the rate of re-admission and complications, and without affecting the mobility at 6 weeks. However, the Belgian financial incentives do not seem to currently promote this surgical approach. These results should be confirmed with a larger sample to define the adequate length of stay after a total knee arthroplasty.