Title

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Orthopaedic Knee Procedures: A National Multicentered Analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

11-1-2022

Journal

Cureus

Volume

14

Issue

11

DOI

10.7759/cureus.31681

Keywords

coronavirus disease 2019; covid-19; current trends; knee arthroplasty; knee procedure; orthopaedics surgery

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic strained the United States healthcare system, and associated policies resulted in the postponement or cancellation of many elective surgeries. While most orthopaedic surgeons are aware of how the pandemic affected their patients' care, broader national trends in the operative treatment of orthopaedic knee pathology are poorly characterized. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify trends in orthopaedic knee procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: The TriNetX database was queried for orthopaedic knee procedures performed from March 2018 to May 2021. Procedures were classified as arthroplasty (total knee arthroplasty (TKA), revision total knee arthroplasty) or non-arthroplasty (tendon or ligament repair, fracture fixation). Procedural volume per healthcare organization was determined over five seasons from March 2020 to May 2021 and compared to overlapping pre-pandemic periods from March 2018 to May 2019. Descriptive analysis was performed, and comparisons were made using a Student's T-test. RESULTS: Compared to the pre-pandemic period, there were significant decreases in primary TKA (p=0.016), femoral or entire tibial component revision TKA (p=0.005), and open treatment of femoral shaft fractures (p=0.007) in spring 2020. Procedural volume returned to baseline in summer 2020 through winter 2021. In spring 2021, primary TKA (p=0.017) and one component revision TKA (p=0.003) increased compared to the pre-pandemic period. CONCLUSION: The greatest decrease in knee procedures occurred early in the pandemic. Rates of these procedures have since rebounded, with some exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Hospitals are now better able to accommodate orthopaedic surgical volume while continuing to care for patients with COVID-19.

Department

Pediatrics

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