Background: There has been a long-standing failure in many countries to satisfy the demand for several elective surgical treatments, including total hip replacement. We set out to estimate the population requirement for primary total hip replacement in England.
Methods: We undertook a cross-sectional study of a stratified random sample of 28,080 individuals aged 35 and over from 40 general practices in inner-city, urban, and rural areas of Avon and Somerset, UK. Prevalent disease was identified through a two-stage process: a self-report screening questionnaire (22,978 of 26,046 responded) and subsequent clinical examination. Incident disease was estimated from the point prevalence by statistical modelling. The requirement for total hip replacement surgery was estimated on the basis of pain and loss of functional ability, with adjustment for evidence of comorbidity and patients' treatment preferences.
Findings: 3169 people reported hip pain on the screening questionnaire. 2018 were invited for clinical examination, and 1405 attended. The prevalence of self-reported hip pain was 107 per 1000 (95% CI 101-113) for men and 173 per 1000 (166-180) for women. The prevalence of hip disease severe enough to require surgery was 15.2 (12.7-17.8) per 1000 aged 35-85 years. The corresponding annual incidence of hip disease requiring surgery was estimated as 2.23 (1.56-2.90), which suggests an overall requirement in England of 46,600 operations per year for patients who expressed a preference for, and were suitable for, surgery; the recent actual provision in England was about 43,500.
Interpretation: This research suggests that the satisfaction of demand for total hip replacement, given agreed criteria for surgery, is a realistic objective.