Calgary

Redone joint replacement surgeries cost Alberta $16M per year, study says

Alberta is redoing hundreds of joint replacements within the first four years of the original surgery at a cost of $16 million per year, a new study concludes.

National health group says about 1,100 out of 13,000 surgeries need later revisions

A study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows that about 1,100 revision surgeries are needed on the 13,000 or so joint replacement procedures done annually in Alberta. (Shutterstock)

Alberta is redoing hundreds of joint replacements within the first four years of the original surgery at a cost of $16 million per year, a new study concludes.

New data contained in a report released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows that about 13,000 hip and knee replacement surgeries were conducted in the province in 2016-17.

About 1,100 of those are redos, or so-called revision surgeries — costing the province millions, and that's not including rehabilitation costs.

Nicole De Guia, who is in charge of the Joint Replacement Registry with the institute, says joint replacements are supposed last about 15 to 20 years.

"For someone to have to need a joint replacement, in the first place, they're generally in advanced stages of osteoarthritis. So, they are already in quite bit of pain," she said.

"So, having the first surgery is intended to provide a better quality of life and needing a follow-up surgery is quite a significant impact one's quality of life."

De Guia adds that redoing the surgeries is not only a problem for patients, but the health-care system.

She says known factors for replacement surgeries include patients being overweight or having diabetes.

"There's quite a number of factors and it's certainly of interest to focus on, to help target, a reduction in these particularly early revisions," she said.

Nationally, the report found that revisions due to infection were more common among older patients, while revisions due to instability are more likely among younger patients.

The national figures are based only on data from Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, the provinces which are mandated to submit information to the CJRR.

CIHI says, based on an average cost of more than $9,100 per joint replacement surgery in Canada — not counting physician and rehabilitation costs, more than $1 billion is spent annually.