Safety of Outpatient Total Ankle Arthroplasty vs Traditional Inpatient Admission or Overnight Observation.
BACKGROUND: Total joint surgeons have successfully performed hip, knee, and shoulder arthroplasty procedures in the outpatient setting without compromising safety, satisfaction, or results. The purpose of this study was to evaluate outpatient total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) as compared with overnight or extended inpatient stay, with regard to 90-day medical and operative complications, reoperations, readmissions or emergency room visits, and pain control. METHODS: The medical records of patients who underwent TAA with 1 fellowship-trained orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon were reviewed. Outcome measures included operative complications, adverse medical events, readmission or emergency room visit for any reason, or reoperation within 90 days following surgery; surgeon's office contact before first postoperative visit regarding pain or other issues; visual analog scale pain score at the first postoperative visit; and need for narcotic refill. Outcomes were assessed by admission status: outpatient, overnight observation, or inpatient admission. Standard statistical analysis was used, and P < .05 was considered significant. RESULTS: Eighty-one patients underwent TAA who met inclusion criteria, and 8 had a complication (10%). A significant difference in complication rate was seen among groups ( P = .01) but not rate of readmission or reoperation. Of 16 patients, 5 (31%) who were admitted for 2 or more nights following surgery had a complication, as opposed to 3 of 65 (5%) who were outpatient or admitted overnight ( P = .01). There were no differences in frequency of postoperative phone calls, narcotic refills, or visual analog scale pain scores at the first postoperative visit. There were no adverse medical events. CONCLUSION: With proper instruction, TAA was performed safely in the outpatient setting. As health care policy continues to evolve in the United States, safe and efficient practices will remain a priority. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, retrospective comparative study.
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