The purpose of the present study is to determine the differences in cost, complications, and mortality between knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients who stay the standard 3-4 nights in a hospital compared to patients who undergo an outpatient procedure, a shortened stay or an extended stay. TKA patients were identified in the Medicare 5% sample (1997-2009) and separated into the following groups: outpatient, 1-2 days, 3-4 days, or 5+ days inpatient. At two years, costs associated with the outpatient and the 1-2 day stay groups were $8527 and $1967 lower than the 3-4 day stay group, respectively. Out to 2 years, the outpatient and 1-2 day stay groups reported less pain and stiffness, respectively, though the 1-2 day group also had a higher risk for revision.
Keywords: complications; costs; mortality; outpatient; short-stay; total knee arthroplasty.