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Surgery Today, Home Tonight

Just a few hours after knee replacement surgery at NorthShore, Joanie Fesl of Arlington Heights was relaxing at home and feeling pampered.


When Fesl arrived from the hospital, a NorthShore Home Health nurse was there to help escort her inside. A few hours later, a Home Health physical therapist arrived a few hours later assisting Fesl with short walks up and down the hallway. For an extra touch of concierge care, Orthopaedic Surgeon Ravi Bashyal, MD, called that evening to ask how his recovering patient was feeling.

Sound hard to believe? Not anymore, thanks to the advancement of outpatient—or same-day—joint replacement surgery at NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute.

One-Day Wonder
“What Dr. Bashyal did for me was life-changing. I was so impressed with him and thankful that I’m not in pain,” said Fesl, 55, a former collegiate volleyball player who now owns a popular youth volleyball camp. “NorthShore also provided me with phenomenal physical therapists and nurses for my post-op recovery at home. I can’t tell you how great that was!”

By focusing on decreasing pain and providing skilled, at-home nursing and physical therapy support, NorthShore is delivering a more personalized approach to joint replacement recovery by allowing qualified patients to return home the same day of surgery. For Fesl, it included a totally new knee customized to fit her unique specifications.

Outpatient total joint replacement surgery relies on technical expertise with minimally invasive surgery, and robust pre- and postoperative service and care. NorthShore is one of the few hospital systems in the country providing this option out of a full-service hospital setting.

“With small incisions and muscle-sparing surgery, our patients are recovering faster, with less pain and limited use of narcotics—including opioids,” explained Dr. Bashyal, Director of Outpatient Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery. “We’ve personalized our approach so that at every touch point patients like Joanie get the expert care they need to recover in the comfort of their home.”

No Place Like Home
Indeed, home was exactly where Fesl wanted to be after surgery. The plan was set in motion a week before the operation—when a nurse visited Fesl to ensure her home was adequately equipped for her recovery. This included setting up a shower seat and getting a walker, for example. They also practiced exercises to start encouraging muscle memory.

Immediately after surgery in March, Fesl was moved to a designated rapid recovery area at Skokie Hospital, and then she spent time in a special post-op recovery room with therapy equipment. A physical therapist helped her take her first steps before heading home.

A Home Health nurse visited Fesl every day for a week after surgery, and she was given the number for an on-call nurse who “replied within 5 minutes every time I had a question,” Fesl added.

“Customized surgery and full-service home care allows us to safely and comfortably get patients home a few hours after their hip or knee replacement surgery,” said Dr. Bashyal, who holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. “It’s quite remarkable considering these procedures required extended inpatient stays only years ago.”

With her pain gone, the former player-turned-coach accomplished her goal of being ready for the first day of her summer camp this past June.

“I had so many NorthShore people who knew their job and did it well to get me back on my feet,” she said. “I trusted them and they didn’t lead me astray.”