According to a study presented last year at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, researchers analyzed models to more accurately predict the future volume of total joint replacement (TJR) procedures throughout the nation. TJR is considered the most commonly performed, elective procedure, and the volume of primary and revision, using this procedure, has increased over the decades.
The researchers said that total hip (THR) and total knee replacements (TKR) are considered to be clinically and cost-effective procedures for persons with end-stage arthritis. This medical condition causes ongoing pain, limited function and a diminished quality of life. According to the National Inpatient Sample, in 2014 there were 370,770 total hip replacements and 680,150 total knee replacements performed in acute care settings.
Predicting the Future Volume of Total Joint Replacements
“We were particularly interested in the predictions for TJR as the projected volume of procedures by 2030 and 2060 were very high,” said Matthew Sloan, M.D., orthopaedic resident at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study, in a March 6, 2018, statement announcing the study’s findings. “We went into our study thinking that the previously anticipated exponential growth among these procedures was not consistent with current trends, and it might be an overestimate,” says Sloan.
According to the University of Pennsylvania’s research study’s findings, by 2030, primary THR is projected to grow 171 percent and primary TKR is projected to grow by up to 189 percent, for a projected 635,000 and 1.28 million procedures, respectively.
The findings also indicate that similar gains are expected for revision THR and TKR, growing by 142 percent (72,000 procedures) and 190 percent (120,000 procedures), respectively. By 2060, primary THR is expected to reach 1.23 million (330 percent increase), primary TKR is expected to reach 2.60 million (382 percent increase), revision THR is expected to reach 110,000 (219 percent increase), and revision TKR is expected to reach 253,000 (400 percent increase). But TKR procedure growth rate has been slowing between 2008-2014.
Compiling Health Care Data to Make Sound Policy Decisions
“These numbers are always changing,” noted Dr. Sloan. “We will continue to look at new data as the numbers need to be constantly updated, especially if they are used to make predictions for future health care saving decisions, as the impact can be in the millions of dollars. It’s imperative to provide policy makers with high-quality data to inform decisions that will affect patient access to orthopedic care and the financial viability of elective orthopedic procedures,” adds Sloan.