This study aimed to identify a threshold in annual surgeon volume associated with increased risk of revision (for any cause) and deep infection requiring surgery following primary elective total knee arthroplasty (TKA).
We used health administrative databases from Ontario, Canada. The main data sources were hospital discharge abstracts from the Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database, physician claims from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), and demographic information on each physician from the Ontario Physician Human Resources Data Centre and OHIP Corporate Provider Database. Using specific procedure and diagnostic codes from the Canadian version of the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and the Canadian Classification of Health Interventions (ICD-10-CA/CCI), we defined a cohort of patients who received their first primary elective TKA for osteoarthritis between April 1, 2002 and March 31, 2016. Patients or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of our research.
Based on restricted cubic spline analysis, the threshold for increased probability of revision and deep infection requiring surgery was <70 cases/year. After matching of 51 658 TKA recipients from surgeons performing <70 cases/year to TKA recipients from surgeons with greater than 70 cases/year, patients in the former group had a higher rate of revision (for any cause, 2.23% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.39 to 3.07) vs 1.70% (95% CI 0.85 to 2.55); Hazard Ratio (HR) 1.33, 95% CI 1.21 to 1.47, p<0.0001) and deep infection requiring surgery (1.29% (95% CI 0.44 to 2.14) vs 1.09% (95% CI 0.24 to 1.94); HR 1.33, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.51, p<0.0001).
For primary TKA recipients, cases performed by surgeons who had performed fewer than 70 TKAs in the year prior to the index TKA were at 31% increased relative risk of revision (for any cause), and 18% increased relative risk for deep surgical infection requiring surgery, at 3-year follow-up.