Depression and anxiety after total joint replacement among older adults: a meta-analysis

Aging Ment Health. 2016 Dec;20(12):1243-1254. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2015.1072801. Epub 2015 Aug 7.


Objective: Patients usually experience good physical recovery after total joint replacement (TJR); however, it is unclear whether mood also improves. The current meta-analysis examined changes in depression and anxiety following TJR in older (≥50 years) patients in order to address this gap in the literature.

Methods: Data from 26 studies (4045 TJR, 55 controls) that assessed depression and/or anxiety pre- and post-surgery in TJR patients, with or without a control group, were analyzed. Prevalence rates and Cohen's d effect sizes were used to evaluate changes in the prevalence and severity of depression/anxiety, respectively.

Results: Approximately 23% of TJR patients had clinically significant levels of depression prior to surgery, which decreased to 13% one year later. The prevalence of anxiety could not be evaluated due to the limited available data. TJR patients did not show any clinically meaningful reductions in symptoms of depression or anxiety, following surgery. Compared to controls, there was no difference in symptom progression over time; although only one study examined this.

Conclusions: TJR patients appear to have higher rates of clinically significant symptoms of depression before and after surgery, compared to the general population, however more research with adequate control groups is needed to confirm this. Only a modest improvement in the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms was noted post-surgery. However, existing research is limited; preventing definite conclusions regarding the impact of TJR on mood.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; meta-analysis; outcomes; total joint replacement.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement / psychology*
  • Depression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male