Knee & Hip Arthroplasties: Analyzing the Obesity Effect

Physician’s Weekly—February 23, 2015

The growth in total knee arthroplasty volume has outpaced that of total hip arthroplasty among Americans who are obese and overweight. If obesity rates continue to climb, the magnitude of this effect will become increasingly problematic.

Published reports have shown that the number of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) procedures performed in the United States more than tripled from 1993 to 2009, while the number of total hip arthroplasty (THA) surgeries doubled during the same timeframe. “In the setting of healthcare reform and cost containment initiatives, increasing surgical volumes have gained greater attention,” says Peter B. Derman, MD, MBA. Several explanations have been proposed regarding the increasing prevalence of total joint arthroplasties, and it is likely that a multitude of interacting factors play a role. These include obesity, the aging population, supplier-induced demand, and changing expectations about the quality of an active lifestyle, among other factors.

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