The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , 2256 - 2262.e4

Impact of Operative Time on Adverse Events Following Primary Total Joint Arthroplasty

Bohl, Daniel D. et al.
Hip Knee


Little is known regarding the impact of operative time on adverse events following arthroplasty. The present study tests for associations between a 15-minute increase in operative time and the occurrence of adverse events following primary total joint arthroplasty.


Patients undergoing primary total hip or knee arthroplasty during 2006-2013 were identified in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. Operative time (as a continuous variable) was tested for association with perioperative outcomes using multivariate regression. All regressions were adjusted for differences in demographic, comorbidity, and procedural characteristics.


A total of 165,474 patients met inclusion criteria. The mean (±standard deviation) operative time was 91.9 ± 32.5 minutes. Following adjustment for baseline characteristics, an increase in operative time by 15 minutes increased the risk of anemia requiring transfusion by 9% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8%-10%, P < .001), wound dehiscence by 13% (95% CI = 8%-19%, P < .001), renal insufficiency by 9% (95% CI = 3%-14%, P < .001), sepsis by 10% (95% CI = 6%-14%, P < .001), surgical site infection by 9% (95% CI = 7%-12%, P < .001), and urinary tract infection by 4% (95% CI = 2%-6%, P < .001). Similarly, an increase in operative time by 15 minutes increased the risk of hospital readmission by 5% (95% CI = 4%-6%, P < .001) and of extended hospital length of stay (≥4 days) by 9% (95% CI = 8%-10%, P < .001).


The present study suggests that greater operative time increases the risk for multiple postoperative complications following total joint arthroplasty. These data suggest that surgeons should consider steps to minimize operative time without compromising the technical components of the surgical procedure.

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