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January 23, 2019

Report: Knee, hip replacements surged by 44 percent since 2010

Adult Health Orthopedics
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Increasing numbers of younger Americans are opting to have knee and hip replacements, according to a new study.

More and more Generation Xers are electing to have their knees and hips replaced earlier in life, according to a review of medical claims data from 2010-2017 by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

The planned orthopedic surgeries continue to climb in cost and volume, especially among younger Americans, according to the report, “Planned Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries Are on the Rise in the U.S.”

Costing more than $25 billion nationally, knee and hip replacements accounted for nearly half of total orthopedic spending, a 44 percent increase since 2010, the report said. With knee replacements up by 17 percent nationally and hip replacements increasing by 33 percent, their average price went up by 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

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In the Philadelphia region, knee replacements increased by 12 percent and hip replacements by 38 percent.

The number of such procedures has risen sharply across nearly all ages under 65.

“We know access to quality health care is important to our members, particularly as Gen X Americans — those younger than 55 — are undergoing hip and knee replacement procedures at increasing rates across the country,” said Dr. Richard Snyder, chief medical officer at Independence Blue Cross, in a news release.

The report studied trends in cost and quality of care for elective orthopedic surgical procedures, specifically knee and hip replacements. Among additional findings:

In the Philadelphia region, the average price for an inpatient knee replacement is $34,688. An inpatient hip replacement is $32,771. Nationally, those procedures performed in an outpatient setting cost from 30 to 40 percent less than inpatient surgery.

Yet, only 11 percent of knee procedures and 8 percent of hip procedures, nationally, were performed on an outpatient basis in 2017. In Philadelphia, 6 percent of both knee and hip procedures were performed on an outpatient basis in 2017.

From 2013-2017, outpatient complication rates substantially improved by 23 percent for knee procedures and 36 percent for hip procedures. Those rates are comparable to inpatient surgeries.

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