The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 8, 1575 - 1580

Trends in Length of Stay and 30-Day Complications After Total Knee Arthroplasty: An Analysis From 2006 to 2016

Nana O. Sarpong, Venkat Boddapati, Carl L. Herndon, Roshan P. Shah, H. John Cooper, Jeffrey A. Geller


Hospital length of stay (LOS) is a quality metric and target of recent efforts in the last decade to decrease healthcare costs and postoperative nosocomial complications after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). However, decreasing LOS has raised concerns of possible increased complication and readmission rates. We present a decade-long analysis in trends of LOS and 30-day complication and unplanned readmissions following TKA.


The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program registry was utilized to identify patients undergoing elective primary TKA between 2006 and 2016. Three cohorts of patients were created based on year of surgery (2006-2009 [N = 7111], 2010-2013 [N = 71,943], and 2014-2016 [N = 142,710]). Patient demographics, perioperative variables, LOS, 30-day postoperative complications, and readmission rates were analyzed between the 3 cohorts using bivariate and multivariate analyses.


LOS decreased significantly over time when the 2006-2009 cohort (3.7 days) was compared to the 2010-2013 cohort (3.3 days, P < .001) and 2014-2016 cohort (3.0 days, P < .001). Similarly, there was a decrease in the rate of total 30-day complications in the 2006-2009 cohort (5.37%) compared to 2010-2013 (3.86%) and 2014-2016 (3.13%, P < .001), with significantly lower rates of deep vein thrombosis, sepsis, and urinary tract infection in the latter cohorts. Decreasing rates of 30-day readmission were also observed in the 2010-2013 cohort (3.63%) compared to 2013-2016 cohort (3.23%, P < .001).


In the last decade, there has been a trend toward decreasing LOS after TKA. Despite concerns about early discharge, data from a national registry demonstrated a simultaneous decrease in total 30-day complication and readmission rates.

Level of Evidence

III, Retrospective cohort study.

Download article