Introduction: This systematic review aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of outpatient joint arthroplasty (OJA) pathways compared to inpatient pathways. Materials and methods: An electronic literature search was conducted to identify eligible studies. Studies comparing OJA with inpatient pathways—following hip and/or (partial) knee arthroplasty—were included. Included studies were assigned—based on OJA definition—to one of the following two groups: (1) outpatient surgery (OS); outpatient defined as discharge on the same day as surgery; and (2) semi-outpatient surgery (SOS); outpatient defined as discharge within 24 h after surgery with or without an overnight stay. Methodological quality was assessed. Outcomes included (serious) adverse events ((S)AEs), readmissions, successful same-day discharge rates, patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and costs. Meta-analyses and subgroup analyses by type of arthroplasty were performed when deemed appropriate. Results: A total of 41 studies (OS = 26, SOS = 15) met the inclusion criteria. One RCT and 40 observational studies were included, with an overall risk-of-bias of moderate to high. Forty studies were included in the meta-analysis. Outpatients (both OS and SOS) were younger and had a lower BMI and ASA class compared to inpatients. Overall, no significant differences between outpatients and inpatients were found for overall complications and readmission rates, and improvement in PROMs. By type of arthroplasty, only THAs in OS pathways were associated with fewer AEs [OR = 0.55 (0.41–0.74)] compared to inpatient pathways. 92% of OS patients were discharged on the day of surgery. OJA resulted in an average cost reduction of $6.797,02. Conclusion: OJA pathways are as safe and effective as inpatient pathways in selected populations, with a potential reduction of costs. Considerable risk of bias in the majority of studies emphasizes the need for further research.
- Clinical pathway
- Hip arthroplasty
- Knee arthroplasty
- Outpatient joint arthroplasty