Background and purpose — Outpatient arthroplasty has gained popularity in recent years; however, safety concerns still remain regarding complications and readmissions. In a prospective 2-center study we investigated early readmissions with overnight stay and complications following outpatient total hip (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) compared with a matched patient cohort with at least 1 postoperative night in hospital. Patients and methods — All consecutive and unselected patients scheduled for THA or TKA at 2 participating hospitals were screened for potential day of surgery (DOS) discharge. Patients who fulfilled the DOS discharge criteria were discharged home. Patients discharged on DOS were matched on preoperative characteristics using propensity scores to patients operated at the same 2 departments prior to the beginning of this study with at least 1 overnight stay. All readmissions within 90 days were identified. Results — It was possible to match 116 of 138 outpatients with 339 inpatient controls. Median LOS in the control cohort was 2 days (1–9). 7 (6%) outpatients and 13 (4%) inpatient controls were readmitted within 90 days. Readmissions occurred between postoperative day 2–48 and day 4–58 in the outpatient and control cohorts, respectively. Importantly, we found no readmissions within the first 48 hours and no readmissions were related to the DOS discharge. Interpretation — Readmission rates in patients discharged on DOS may be similar to matched patients with at least 1 overnight stay. With the selection criteria used, there may be no safety signal associated with same-day discharge.