Identifying complications requiring re-operation following primary hip or knee arthroplasty: a consecutive series of 98 patientsBill Reynolds, Nick Maister, Stephen D. Gill, Shaun Waring, Peter Schoch, Sally Beattie, Andrew Thomson & Richard S. Page
The number of hip and knee arthroplasties completed is expected to double over the next decade. In public hospitals, regular post-arthroplasty orthopaedic review has commonly occurred for the duration of a patient’s life, which requires substantial outpatient resources. However, there is limited evidence regarding the utility of these reviews for identifying complications. The current study investigated when and where complications requiring re-operation were identified following primary hip or knee arthroplasty.
The medical records of all patients requiring re-operation for complications following primary hip arthroplasty (n = 48, 2004 to 2015) or knee primary arthroplasty (n = 50, 1998 to 2015) at a large regional health service were evaluated. Data were extracted by one of four investigators using a standardised electronic data extraction tool. Variables of interest included the health setting where the complication was initially identified, how long following the original operation the complication was identified and whether the complication was symptomatic.
Routine post-arthroplasty orthopaedic appointments identified 15 (15.3%) complications requiring re-operation; all were identified in the first-year post-surgery. For each complication identified in the first-year post-surgery, approximately 1000 orthopaedic outpatient appointments were required. After the first year, all complications were identified in Emergency Departments (n = 30, 30.6%), General Practice (n = 24, 24.5%) or non-routine orthopaedic outpatient appointments (n = 19, 19.4%). All patients with complications reported symptoms.
Routine post-arthroplasty review appointments were an inefficient mechanism for identifying complications requiring re-operation more than one year following surgery. Public health services should consider assessing and redesigning post-arthroplasty review services to reduce the burden on patients and the demand for outpatient appointments.