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Orthopedic Procedures Increase Dramatically in Seven Years

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: July 18, 2007

Orthopedic procedures, including knee reconstruction or replacement (knee arthroplasty), total and partial hip replacement, and spinal fusion, increased by nearly 25 percent between 1997 and 2005, climbing from 822,000 to 1.3 million, according to the latest News and Numbers summary from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The data indicate that that between 1997 and 2005:

  • The number of knee surgeries climbed by 69 percent, from 328,800 in 1997 to 555,800. Hip replacements rose 32 percent from 290,700 to 383,500 procedures, and spinal fusion operations rose 73 percent, from 202,100 to 349,400 procedures.
  • Women were 60 percent more likely than men to have hip replacement procedures and 70 percent more likely to have knee surgery. Spinal fusions were equally likely in men and women.
  • Costs related to hospital stays for orthopedic procedures totaled $31.5 billion—11 percent of all hospital patient-care costs.
  • Medicare paid the largest share of hospital costs for knee surgery and hip replacements (covering nearly 60 percent of all knee surgeries and 64 percent of all hip replacements). On the other hand, private insurance was billed for more than half (52 percent) of spinal fusion procedures.

This AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data in Hospital Stays Involving Musculoskeletal Procedures, 1997-2005, HCUP Statistical Brief No. 34. The report uses statistics from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

To speak with the author of this report, or for information from previous AHRQ News and Numbers summaries, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of July 2007


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