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Waiting for orthopedic surgery — are we underestimating the impacts on people with advanced osteoarthritis?

Published:September 02, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2022.08.012
      The systematic review and meta-analysis by Patten et al.
      • Patten R.K.
      • Tacey A.
      • Bourke M.
      • Smith C.
      • Pascoe M.
      • Vogrin S.
      • et al.
      The impact of waiting time for orthopaedic consultation on pain levels in individuals with osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
      is well timed given the profound and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the provision of joint replacement surgery worldwide. While the full picture is not yet clear, the capacity of health systems to provide joint replacement surgery in a timely manner to those who need it remains considerably strained. Several national arthroplasty registries have reported on the volume of procedures missed in 2020, commonly due to restrictions on elective (non-urgent) surgery. For example, compared with 2019 numbers, 106,922 fewer procedures were performed in the UK in 2020
      • Sayers A.
      • Deere K.
      • Lenguerrand E.
      • Kunutsor S.K.
      • Rees J.L.
      • Judge A.
      • et al.
      The COVID-19 Induced Joint Replacement Deficit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
      , 7,086 fewer procedures were performed in Australia in 2020
      Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry
      Annual Report — Hip, Knee and Shoulder Arthroplasty.
      , and there was a 23% reduction in primary hip replacements and a 30% reduction in primary knee replacements in Sweden in 2020
      Swedish Arthroplasty Register
      Annual Report 2021.
      . Importantly, these statistics do not reflect anticipated annual growth in joint replacement numbers, and missed procedures from 2021 to 2022 have yet to be quantified.
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