Acta Orthopaedica, 89:3, 265-271, DOI: 10.1080/17453674.2018.1444300

Does surgeon experience affect patient-reported outcomes 1 year after primary total hip arthroplasty?

Per Jolbäck, Ola Rolfson, Maziar Mohaddes, Szilárd Nemes, Johan Kärrholm, Göran Garellick & Hans Lindahl

Background and purpose — Several studies have reported on the influence of various factors on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) after total hip arthroplasty (THA), but very few have focused on the experience of the surgeon. We investigated any association between surgeons’ experience and PROs 1 year after primary THA.

Patients and methods — Patient characteristics and surgical data at 10 hospitals in western Sweden were linked with PROs (EQ-5D-3L, Satisfaction Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Pain VAS). These data were retrieved from the Swedish Hip Arthroplasty Register (SHAR). The surgeon’s level of experience was divided into 4 subgroups related to experience: < 8 years, 8–15 years, and >15 years of clinical practice after specialist certificate. If no specialist certificate was obtained the surgery was classified as a trainee surgery. Surgeons with >15 years’ experience as an orthopedic specialist were used as reference group in the analyses.

Results — 8,158 primary THAs due to osteoarthritis were identified. We identified the surgeons’ level of experience in 8,116 THAs. Data from SHAR on pre- and postoperative PROs and satisfaction at 1 year were available for 6,713 THAs. We observed a statistically significant difference among the 4 groups of surgeons regarding mean patient age, ASA classification, Charnley classification, diagnosis, and fixation technique. At 1-year follow-up, there were no statistically significant differences in Pain VAS, EQ-5D index, or EQ VAS among the subgroups of orthopedic specialists. Patients operated on by orthopedic trainees reported less satisfaction with the result of the surgery compared with the reference group.

Interpretation — These findings indicate that patients can expect similar health improvements, pain reduction, and satisfaction 1 year after a primary THA operation irrespective of years in practice after specialty certification as an orthopedic surgeon.

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