Rates of Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Population-Based Study

L. Joseph Melton, Richard N. Stauffer, Edmund Y.S. Chao, Duane M. Ilstrup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three hundred eighty-one total hip arthroplasties were performed on residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, during the period from 1969 to 1980, for a rate (adjusted for sex and age) of 44.6 per 100,000 person-years. Rates rose with age, were higher for women than men, and were higher among urban than rural residents of the county. If we assume that the Olmsted County experience is medically optimal and apply it to the 1980 United States population, we calculate a national requirement of over 100,000 total hip arthroplasties per year, well above the current actual figure. If this calculated number of total hip arthroplasties were actually performed each year, over 1.4 million hospital days would be required, and direct medical costs would probably exceed $1 billion annually. (N Engl J Med. 1982; 307:1242–5.), Like practitioners of most other medical and surgical subspecialties, orthopedists are coming under increasing pressure to defend the introduction and use of expensive new technology, including total hip replacement. Quantitative data on the actual need for this procedure could be useful to public and private policy makers in deciding where to deliver this service, in planning the size and direction of orthopedic training programs, and in estimating the potential economic impact of the procedure. Unfortunately, there are no satisfactory data on the need for total hip arthroplasty. The Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee employed a panel of experts to.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1242-1245
Number of pages4
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number20
StatePublished - Nov 11 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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