Most Eligible Knees Not Being Replaced in Timely Manner

Of knees that were potentially appropriate but not replaced, 42.5 percent had severe symptoms

TUESDAY, Jan. 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients who are eligible for total knee replacement do not have the procedure within two years, according to research published online Jan. 13 in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Hassan M.K. Ghomrawi, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research in Chicago, and colleagues pooled data from two multicenter studies to examine total knee replacement utilization information for 8,002 participants who had or were at risk for knee osteoarthritis and were followed for up to eight years. A total of 3,417 knees were classified on the basis of total knee replacement into three categories: timely, potentially appropriate but knee not replaced, and premature.

Overall, 8, 83, and 9 percent of the knees were considered timely, potentially appropriate but not replaced, and premature, respectively. The researchers found that 42.5 percent of the knees that were potentially appropriate but were not replaced had severe symptoms. Black participants had a greater likelihood of being classified as potentially appropriate but not undergoing total knee replacement than having timely total knee replacement. Participants with a body mass index of >25 kg/m² and those with depression were less likely to have premature total knee replacement than timely total knee replacement.

"As the number of surgeries rises, we need to make sure the timing is optimal for patients to obtain the most benefit and to keep health care costs down," Ghomrawi said in a statement.

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