Does surgical volume affect outcome after primary and revision knee arthroplasty? A systematic review of the literature

Knee. 2012 Oct;19(5):513-8. doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2011.11.007. Epub 2012 Jun 5.


Background: In 2009 there were 72,980 primary and 4565 revision knee arthroplasties performed in England and Wales [1]. Given the large number of procedures done annually any factors that may influence outcome and benefit the patient must be considered seriously.

Objectives: To find out whether a relationship exists between hospital and surgical volume and patient outcomes for primary and revision knee arthroplasty. A systematic review of the literature was performed to evaluate the current evidence using the PRISMA criteria [2].

Data sources: A computerised literature search was performed on the electronic databases PubMed, Medline, Embase and CINAHL between 1973 and 2011.

Study eligibility criteria: All abstracts, in the English language, pertaining to either surgical or hospital volume and outcome after primary and revision knee arthroplasty between 1973 and 2011 were considered. Outcomes of interest included morbidity, mortality, clinical and economic outcomes.

Conclusions: Both the orthopaedic and surgical specialties literature demonstrates a clear and consistent relationship between both surgeon and hospital volume with outcome, higher volume being associated with improved patient outcomes. In view of the literature consideration should be given to whether all orthopaedic operations should be carried out by all surgeons in all hospitals.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / statistics & numerical data*
  • England
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Reperfusion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wales