Knee and Hip Replacements - News Release

Contact: Joe Martin
717-232-6787 or


Harrisburg, PA - April 20, 2016 - The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) has released a new hospital report on complications following knee and hip replacement surgeries performed in Pennsylvania hospitals. This new analysis supplements a report released by PHC4 last year that examined readmissions following knee and hip replacement.

"With the number of knee and hip replacement surgeries increasing by more than 40% in the last decade, complication rates provide additional information to the many Pennsylvania residents facing joint replacement surgery," said Joe Martin, PHC4’s executive director. More than 56,000 knee and hip replacements were performed in Pennsylvania hospitals in 2014 (36,307 knee replacements and 19,866 hip replacements).

Included in the analysis are complication ratings for the hospitals that performed knee and hip replacement procedures in 2014. Overall, 2.2% of patients experienced a complication following knee replacement surgery. For hip replacements, the complication rate was 2.8%.

Complications following knee or hip replacement often add to the overall cost of care through additional days spent in the hospital and increased payments. Patients who developed a complication while still in the hospital stayed, on average, 6.4 days—3.7 days longer than patients who did not develop a complication. In other instances, a complication resulted in the patient being readmitted to the hospital. The average length of stay for these readmissions was 5.2. days. Overall, complications following knee and hip replacement added 5,258 additional hospital days and an estimated $12.7 million in additional payments when compared to patients who did not experience a complication.

Increases in the number of knee and hip procedures performed on patients age 18-64 are particularly noteworthy especially since complications following these procedures can contribute to employment-related issues such as lost productivity and lost wages. Approximately 41% of the complications occurred in patients age 18-64. Complications following knee or hip replacement for this age group alone added an estimated $5.6 million in payments and 2,270 additional hospital days (when compared to patients who did not contract a complication).

Complications examined included those affecting the surgery site, such as surgical site bleeding, joint infection, and wound infection, as well as medical complications such as sepsis, blood clot in the lung, or pneumonia. Complications were identified during the initial hospitalization in which the surgery was performed (37% of complications) or when patients were readmitted to the hospital specifically for a complication (63% of complications).

PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania.