Joint replacement to cost $5 billion by 2030: study

A new study has raised concerns about Australia’s capacity to meet demand for joint replacement surgery.

Knee and hip replacements for osteoarthritis are expected to rise by up to 276 per cent by 2030, costing Australia’s health care system over $5 billion.

Obesity and an ageing population will be the main drivers of growth in these surgeries. The 2030 projections are based on data obtained through the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry (AOANJRR), which includes joint replacement procedures performed across Australia from 2003 to 2013.

The study, published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, found:

•                    Knee-replacement procedures for OA were forecast to increase by 276 per cent (from 42,920 procedures in 2013 to 161,231 in 2030).

•                    Hip replacement procedures for OA were predicted to rise by 208 per cent (from 25,945 procedures in 2013 to 79,795 in 2030).

•                    The proportion of Australian adults who are overweight or obese is anticipated to exceed 70 per cent by 2030, resulting in an extra 25,000 knee replacement surgeries, costing an additional $521 million.

•                    Reducing obesity levels in Australia by 5 per cent could result in up to 8,062 fewer procedures – saving $170 million.

But study author, Associate Professor Ilana Ackerman, from Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said the study raised concerns about Australia’s capacity to meet future national demand for joint replacement surgery.

“In order to meet joint replacement demand in 2030 and beyond, investment in prevention programs designed to limit obesity and other causes associated with hip and knee burden in Australia demands serious consideration,” A/P Ackerman said.

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