CHICAGO 2012 – There has been an increase in total knee arthroplasty (TKA; knee replacement) procedures over the past 20 years that has been driven by both an increase in the number of Medicare enrollees and increase in per capita utilization, according to a study in the September 26 issue of JAMA. There has also been a decrease in hospital length of stay for TKA, but increased hospital readmission rates and increased rates of infectious complications.
“Total knee arthroplasty is a common and safe procedure typically performed for relief of symptoms in patients with severe knee arthritis. Available data suggest that approximately 600,000 TKA procedures are performed annually in the United States at a cost of approximately $15,000 per procedure ($9 billion per year in aggregate),” according to background information in the article. Total knee arthroplasty is one of the most common and costly surgical procedures performed in the United States. “Despite the clinical and economic policy importance of TKA, there are few analyses evaluating recent trends over time in use of and outcomes associated with TKA.”
“These figures suggest that growth in primary and revision TKA volume is being driven by both an increase in the number of Medicare enrollees and an increase in per capita arthroplasty utilization,” the authors write. “This growth is likely driven by a combination of factors including an expansion in the types of patients considered likely to benefit from TKA, an aging population, and an increasing prevalence of certain conditions that predispose patients to osteoarthritis, most notably obesity.”