Knee Replacement Surgery Provides Relief and Savings, Study Finds

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Posted: Aug 25, 2013 | by admin | 0 Comment

Knee replacement surgery not only significantly relieves pain in most patients but it also helps them save money, new research shows.

By being able to stay employed and increase their lifetime earnings, the expense of surgery is offset by indirect savings of nearly $40,000, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Researchers also found that patients missed fewer work days and employers had lower disability payments.

“We know that when a knee replacement is done on patients at the appropriate time, it adds tremendous value to their lives,” said Dr. John R. Tongue, past-president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “But until now, that value has been hard to quantify. This study allows patients to see the big picture of the effect on their daily lives and in the long term.”

The number of people having a total knee replacement is expected to increase significantly as an aging population stays longer in the workforce, according to a news release from the AAOS. In 2009, 600,000 knee replacements were performed. That number is expected to exceed 3 million by 2030.

Researchers estimate that the 600,000 knee replacement surgeries performed in 2009 will create a lifetime societal savings of about $12 billion, according to the study. These savings primarily help patients who work and their employers, the release states.

“The benefit of successful treatment of bone and joint conditions in the long term is known by the patients who’ve been through it,” said Lane Koenig, author of the study and a health care economist. “But these data offer evidence on the societal effects that will add to the conversation people are having about improved, cost-conscious health care.”

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