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The Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery – Is It Worth It?

By David Thut, MD

As society has become more concerned about the cost of healthcare, a spotlight has been focused on procedures with wholesale mlb jerseys high price tags. Doctors have begun to look critically at what we spend nationally on treatment of specific diagnoses to identify interventions that provide the best “bang for the buck.” A recent study has documented that total knee replacements are remarkably cost effective.

In all joints, the ends of the bones are covered with a veneer of articular cartilage that allows them to glide smoothly. In a healthy knee, the cartilage is 4-6 mm thick. Over time, the cartilage thins as a result of wear and tear on the joint (Osteoarthritis) or systemic 400 disease (Rheumatoid Arthritis). Eventually the cartilage may wear away completely, leaving a patient with what many refer to as “bone on bone” arthritis. People with arthritis suffer pain and dysfunction limiting their ability to work and reducing their quality of life. Initial treatments include over the counter medicine, weight loss, strengthening and injections. After these conservative treatments fail, patients often opt for total knee replacement to resurface the bones. Following knee replacement, patients work more productively, exercise more easily, and remain independent longer.

Total knee replacements are among the highest cost procedures we do. They are also among the most common. In 2009, more than 600,000 total knee replacements were performed at an average cost of $20,704.

The recent study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery examined the cost effectiveness of those knee replacements from a societal perspective. When quality of life and job related savings were assessed, the authors found a cost savings to society of $39,697 over the life Hello of each patient.The total cost savings to society as a result of the knee replacements performed just in 2009 is approximately $12 billion. While the authors stress that their findings do not lead to a recommendation of surgery for any individual patient, they clearly document that the return on investment to society cheap jerseys for total knee replacement is excellent. As surgeons, we recognize that for each of our patients the Golden ability to be more active is priceless. The fact is that cheap jerseys is the operation makes sense from a larger societal perspective is a bonus.