The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 1, 28 - 31

Depression Treatment Is Not Associated With Improved Patient-Reported Outcomes Following Total Joint Arthroplasty

Halawi, Mohamad J. et al.
Hip Knee


The objective of this study was to investigate if there were differences in disease-specific, overall health, and activity outcomes after total joint arthroplasty (TJA) between treated and untreated depressed patients.


Patients who underwent primary, elective, unilateral TJA were divided into 3 groups based on self-reported history of depression and treatment at the time of surgery: 1) patients without depression, 2) patients with treated depression, and 3) patients with untreated depression. The primary outcomes were the differences in SF-12 PCS, SF-12 MCS, WOMAC, and UCLA activity rating scale up to 12 months postoperatively. A secondary outcome was the effect of depression treatment on patients’ perception of experiencing limitation in their activities due to depression. Univariate and mixed-effects model analyses were performed to control for potential confounding factors.


The prevalence of depression was 189/749 (25%). Compared to patients with treated depression, untreated patients had lower baseline SF-12 MCS (P < .001) and were more likely to have Medicaid insurance (P < .001). After controlling for potential confounding factors, there were no differences in either the absolute scores or net changes in any of the assessed outcomes at 12 months postoperatively among depressed patients regardless of treatment (P > .05). In addition, depression treatment did not affect patients’ perception of activity limitation (P = .412).


Although it is clear that depression adversely impacts patient outcomes in primary TJA, treatment does not appear to mitigate this negative effect. Depression treatment does not necessarily imply resolution of depressive symptoms. Future studies should explore alternative interventions to reduce the health-related consequences of depression to optimize the outcomes of TJA.

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