BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2019 20:67. Doi: 10.1186/s12891-019-2446-y

Living in immigrant communities does not impact total knee arthroplasty outcomes: experience from a high-volume center in the United States

Bella Mehta, Jackie Szymonifka, Shirin Dey, Iris Navarro-Millan, Stephen Grassia, Lisa A. Mandl, Anne R. Bass, Linda Russell, Michael Parks, Mark Figgie, Lily Lee, Joe Nguyen and Susan M. Goodman


Community characteristics such as poverty affect total knee arthroplasty (TKA) outcomes. However, it is unknown whether other community factors such as immigrant proportion (IP) also affect outcomes. Our objective was to determine the association of neighborhood IP on preoperative (pre-op) and 2-year postoperative (post-op) Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain and function after elective TKA.


Patients in a high volume institutional TKA registry between May 2007 and February 2011 were retrospectively analyzed. Demographics, pre-op and 2-year post-op WOMAC pain and function scores, and geocodable addresses were obtained. Patient-level variables were linked to US Census Bureau census tract data. The effect of patient and neighborhood-level factors on WOMAC scores were analyzed using linear mixed effects models.


3898 TKA patients were analyzed. Pre-op and 2-year post-op WOMAC pain and function scores were between 2.75–4.88 WOMAC points worse in neighborhoods with a high IP (≥ 40%) compared to low IP (< 10%). In multivariable analyses, these differences were not statistically significant. Women had worse pre-op and 2-year post-op WOMAC scores (all p ≤ 0.04), but this difference was not influenced by neighborhood IP (all pinteraction NS).


Patients living in high (≥40%) IP neighborhoods do not have worse pre-op or 2-year post-op pain and function outcomes after TKA compared to those living in low (< 10%) IP neighborhoods. Although sex differences favoring males are notable, these differences are not associated with IP. High neighborhood IP do not appear to affect outcomes after TKA.

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