The In’s & Out’s of Outpatient Shoulder Surgery

Outpatient surgery is any type of surgery that does not require the patient to stay overnight in hospital. It is also known as ambulatory surgery, same-day surgery, day surgery. Many knee, shoulder, eye, spine and other surgeries can be performed in outpatient settings.

Outpatient surgery helps to keep hospital costs down and allows the patient to recover at home. It is a popular option for minor surgical procedures, with over 50% of all surgical procedures now able to be performed on an outpatient basis. A patient’s suitability for outpatient surgery will depend on their personal medical history and the advice of their shoulder surgeon.

Where Is Outpatient Surgery Performed?

In most cases, outpatient surgery will be performed within a hospital setting. Some clinics may also have a freestanding satellite facility that may be part of the hospital or independently operated.

Benefits of Outpatient Surgery

– More Convenient: Recovering at home is usually far preferable to a hospital bed.

– More Affordable: Outpatient surgery means no charge for a hospital room or other services. Your insurance companies may also cover certain outpatient procedures.

– Less Stress: Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to being away from home, so outpatient surgery is a welcome option.

– Better Availability: Scheduling of outpatient surgeries are more predictable as the procedures are more routine and less complex, so patients can usually arrange a time and date to suit.

Types of Outpatient Shoulder Surgery

If a patient is requiring shoulder surgery, their orthopedic surgeon will discuss whether or not they are required to stay in hospital overnight. However, many shoulder surgeries can be performed on an outpatient basis.

Arthroscopic surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis. Arthroscopic surgery involves the diagnosis and repairing of structural damage within the shoulder joint. A surgeon will make 3-4 incisions in the shoulder area and then insert a fiberoptic camera in order to see inside the joint. At the same time, the surgeon will use tiny surgical tools to make any necessary repairs.

Types of arthroscopic surgery include:

– Rotator cuff repair

– Subacromial decompression (bone spur removal)

– Glenoid labrum repairs (SLAP tears)

– Repair of shoulder instability (dislocated joint)

– Biceps tendon repair

– Bursitis of the shoulder

– Debridement (caused by arthritis)

– Frozen shoulder release

How Long Does Outpatient Shoulder Surgery Take?

Depending on the type of procedure, outpatient surgery usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour. Following surgery, the patient will spend between 1-4 hours in a recovery room before they are free to go home. It is recommended that they arrange some form of transport to get home, as they will not be able to drive after the surgery.

Recovery From Outpatient Surgery

Upon returning home after outpatient shoulder surgery, patients are advised to rest. Some may experience drowsiness or after-effects of anesthesia, such as muscle aches, occasional dizziness, nausea and other discomforts. Any pain from the procedure should be managed with prescribed pain medicine.

In most cases, a nurse or other healthcare provider will follow up on the patient’s progress in the days following the procedure.

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