HealthDay News — Patients discharged home from the hospital following hip or knee arthroplasty recover as well as, or better than, those who first go to a rehabilitation center, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from March 14 to 18 in San Diego.

William Hozack, MD, an orthopedic surgery professor with the Rothman Institute at the Thomas Jefferson University Medical School in Philadelphia, and colleagues included 769 patients discharged home following either a total hip arthroplasty or a total knee arthroplasty in their study. Of those, 138 lived alone (about 18 percent). Hozack’s team observed no differences by any measure. Those who had support from others at home indicated relatively higher satisfaction levels at the two-week mark; however, by the three-month point there was no appreciable difference between the two groups. 

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Two other studies being presented at the meeting also found that recovering at home may be the better option. One study found that patients who are discharged directly home following a total knee arthroplasty face a lower risk for complications and hospital readmission than those who first go to an inpatient rehab facility. The study was led by Alexander McLawhorn, MD, an orthopedic hip and knee surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. 

McLawhorn was also part of a second Hospital for Special Surgery study, led by Michael Fu, MD That study found that hip arthroplasty patients admitted to an inpatient facility rather than being sent home faced a higher risk for respiratory, wound, and urinary complications, and a higher risk for hospital readmission and death.

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