The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 34 , Issue 3 , 426 - 432

The Association Between Operative Time and Short-Term Complications in Total Hip Arthroplasty: An Analysis of 89,802 Surgeries

Surace, Peter et al.


It has been established by previous studies that longer operative times can lead to higher rates of complications and poorer outcomes after total hip arthroplasty (THA). However, these studies were heterogeneous, examined limited complications, and have not provided a clear time after which complications increase. The aims of this study were to (1) assess whether longer operative time increases risk of complications within 30 days of THA, (2) investigate the relationship between operative time and various complications after THA, and (3) identify possible operative times beyond which complication rates increase.


The National Surgical Quality Improvement Project database was queried to identify 89,802 procedures that were included in the final analysis. The effect of operative time on complications within 30 days was evaluated using multivariate logistic regression models. Spline regression models were created to investigate the relationship between operative time and complications.


Longer operative times were associated with higher risk of readmissions (P < .001), reoperations (P < .001), surgical site infection (P < .001), wound dehiscence (P < .001), renal or systemic complications (P < .001), and blood transfusion (P < .001). A linear relationship was observed between operative time and readmission, reoperation, surgical site infection, and transfusions with increased rate of these complications when the operative time exceeded 75 to 80 minutes. Venous thromboembolic complications had a U-shaped relationship with operative time with the trough around 90 to 100 minutes.


While our findings cannot establish a clear cause and effect relation, they do suggest strong correlation between increased operative time and perioperative complications. Additionally, this study suggests an optimal time of approximately 80 minutes, as a goal for surgeons, that may be associated with less risk of complications following THA.

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