Clinic Saint-Jean, first Belgian hospital to perform a total hip replacement (THR) in an outpatient procedure


Brussels, 22 December 2015 – On 21 December 2015, Dr. Etienne Willemart, head of the orthopaedic department at Clinic Saint-Jean in Brussels, for the first time in Belgium implanted a total hip replacement in an outpatient. This day-surgery technique allows the patient to arrive in the morning and leave the same evening. This was a success for this patient who was able to be discharged yesterday and who will continue his rehabilitation in a family setting, before resuming his professional activities in a few days. An innovative procedure with many advantages for the patient, and also enables him to reduce the cost to our healthcare system.

Total hip replacement is a common practice in Belgium.
Traditionally, such an intervention requires a hospital stay of 5 to 7 days for the patient. At Clinic Saint-Jean, several hundred prostheses are fitted every year. Our institution embarked upon a “Rapid Recovery” healthcare protocol more than 10 years ago. According to a recent study, Clinic Saint-Jean is rated even below the national average in terms of length of hospitalisation and in terms of the risk of subsequent revision (rated 2nd in the Brussels region)*.

“Offering total hip replacement as an outpatient procedure reduces the patient’s hospital stay considerably and ensures more rapid rehabilitation so that the return to “normal life” can be as comfortable as possible. This outpatient prosthetic fitting was made possible by a mini-invasive technique using reliable medical devices and implant instruments and applying the “Rapid Recovery” care protocol. It is also important to point out the excellent collaboration between the anaesthesiology department, the care units, the orthopaedic department of Clinic Saint-Jean and the patient’s general practitioner who together have established an extremely precise and very safe care protocol for the patient. We are happy that everything went as planned and that the patient was able to return home at around 18h the same evening of the operation, very calmly and with little pain. Already he was walking without his crutches”, explained Dr. Willemart, head of the orthopaedic department.

Essentially, the patient arrived in the morning, around 7h. His operation lasted about one hour, under general anaesthesia, and ended around 9h30. Once he regained consciousness, he able to be taken to a room where he took his first steps supported on crutches at 12h. By 15h he was able to practice climbing and descending stairs. By the end of the afternoon, a family member came to fetch him and take him home. At present the patient can be rehabilitated at home. He will see Dr. Willemart again in a few days to check for proper post-surgical follow-up.

“Not all patients are candidates for an outpatient total hip prosthesis implant. This is decided on a case-by-case basis by the orthopaedic surgeon in consultation with the patient and his general practitioner. Certain conditions must be met, particularly the patient’s close proximity to the Clinic, the involvement of his medical entourage in his rehabilitation and the motivation of the patient himself. Thanks to the preparatory preliminary work of the cross-disciplinary team and the perfect coordination between the hospital’s nursing team and the relay by the home care team, we are happy to be able to expand our range of medical services by offering these patients innovative, safe, high-quality surgical solutions that provide great benefits, while at the same time lightening the healthcare budget”, concluded Dr. Benoît-Philippe Hermans, Managing Director of Clinic Saint-Jean.


About Clinic Saint-Jean

Drawing on a hospital tradition going back more than eight centuries, Clinic Saint-Jean boasts a complement of 558 beds and offers all of the medical, physical and mental health services. It makes cardiac surgery, radiotherapy, neurosurgery maternity services available and a maternity department that manages more than 2200 deliveries per year. Clinic Saint-Jean is aiming to position itself as a known and renowned professional organisation and as a major hospital for patient-focused AND quality-based care in the Brussels region and surrounding areas.

With the support of its 1400 highly specialised professionals spread over 3 locations (Botanique, Méridien and Léopold I), it certainly offers personalised, high-quality care with a view to restoring and promoting the health and well-being of the patient. Respect for cultural, philosophical and religious diversity also plays a central role in this regard.