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Acta Orthop. 2008 Dec;79(6):812-9. doi: 10.1080/17453670810016902.

Knee replacement: epidemiology, outcomes, and trends in Southern California: 17,080 replacements from 1995 through 2004.

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  • 1Southern California Permanente Medical Group, San Diego,CA, USA.



There are limited population-based data on utilization, outcomes, and trends in total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The purpose of this study was to examine TKA utilization and short-term outcomes in a pre-paid health maintenance organization (HMO), and to determine whether rates and revision burden changed over time. We also studied whether this population is representative of the general population in California and in the United States.


Using hospital utilization and membership databases from 1995 through 2004, we calculated incidence rates (IRs) of primary and revision TKA for every 10,000 health plan members. The demographics of the HMO population were compared to published census data from California and the United States.


The age and sex distributions of the study population were similar to those of the general population in California and the United States. 15,943 primary TKAs and 1,137 revision TKAs were performed during the 10-year period. Patients below the age of 65 accounted for one-third of all primary replacements and one-third of all revision replacements. IRs of primary TKAs increased from 6.3 per 10,000 in 1995 to 11.0 per 10,000 in 2004, at a rate of 5% per year (p<0.001). IRs of revision TKAs increased from 0.41 per 10,000 in 1995 to 0.74 per 10,000 in 2004 (p=0.4). Revision burden remained stable over the 10-year observation period. Surgical complications were higher in revision TKA than in primary TKA (10% vs. 7.7%; p=0.007). 90 day complication rates for primary and revision TKA including death were 0.3% and 0.6% (p=0.1) and for pulmonary embolism 0.5% and 0.4% (p=0.6). 90 day re-admission rates for primary and revision TKA including infection were 0.5% and 4.2% (p<0.001), for myocardial infarction 0.1% each, and for pneumonia 0.2% and 0.4% (p=0.08).


The incidence of primary and revision TKA increased between 1995 and 2005. The rates of postoperative complications were low. Comparisons of the study population and the underlying general populations of interest indicate that this population can be used to predict the incidences and outcomes of TKA in the general population of California and of the United States as a whole.

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