US vs Germany: Researchers compare frequency of orthopaedic procedures
BERLIN, Germany: The number of hip and knee replacement operations is rising in many industrialised countries. German researchers have compared the number of hip and knee replacements in Germany and the US using individual patient data from both countries to study differences between 2005 and 2011, and the determinants of trends over the period.
In 2011, 284 hip replacements were performed per 100,000 population in Germany compared with 204 per 100,000 population in the US. Such operations were thus 1.4 times more frequent in Germany. In contrast, knee replacements were performed 1.5 times more frequently in the US (304 surgeries per 100,000 population) than in Germany (206 surgeries per 100,000 population). However, the figures increased over the observation period in both countries.
In Germany, the number of primary replacements rose by 11 per cent, from 170 to 190 per 100,000 population. In the US, the number rose from 79 to 96 per 100,000 population, but the new figure remains well below the German level because the baseline level was very low. The increase in Germany can partly be explained by changes in the population age structure.
There are considerable differences between surgery frequency in Germany and the US. In order to rank the results obtained more meaningfully, further comparisons are needed with other industrialised countries, based on individual patient data to the extent that these are available.
The study, titled “Hip and knee replacement in Germany and the USA: Analysis of individual inpatient data from German and US hospitals for the years 2005 to 2011”, was published in the journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International.