The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 12, 2855 - 2860

Conversion Total Knee Arthroplasty is Associated with Increased Post-Acute Care Costs

Yayac, Michael F. et al.


Alternative payment models have been viewed as successfully decreasing costs following primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) while maintaining quality. Concerns exist regarding access to care for patients who may utilize more resources in a bundled payment arrangement. The purpose of this study is to determine if patients undergoing conversion of prior surgery to TKA have increased costs compared to primary TKA patients.


Claims from Medicare and a single private insurer were queried for all primary TKA patients at our institution from 2015 to 2016. Ninety-day post-acute care costs were compared between primary and conversion TKA. Secondary endpoints included discharge disposition, complications, and readmissions. A multivariate regression analysis was performed to identify independent risk factors for increased post-acute care costs and short-term outcome metrics.


Of 3999 primary TKA procedures, 948 patients (23%) underwent conversion TKA. Conversion TKA was associated with greater post-acute care costs in patients with commercial insurance ($4714 vs $3759, P = .034). Among Medicare beneficiaries, prior ligament reconstruction was associated with increased post-acute care costs ($1917 increase, P = .036), while prior fracture fixation approached statistical significance ($2402 increase, P = .055). Conversion TKA was an independent risk factor for readmissions (odds ratio 1.46, 95% confidence interval 1.00-2.17, P = .050), while patients with a prior open knee procedure had higher rates of complications (odds ratio 2.41, 95% confidence interval 1.004-5.778, P = .049).


Our data suggest that conversion from prior knee surgery to TKA is associated with increased 90-day post-acute care costs and resource utilization, particularly prior open procedures. Without appropriate risk adjustment in alternative payment models, surgeons may be financially deterred from providing quality arthroplasty care given the reduced net payment and surgical complexity of such cases.

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