Question:My son-in-law is a doctor. He told me to get my hip replacement done at a high-volume hospital. What does this mean?
Generally it means the hospital does more than just a few total hip replacements (THRs) each year. Researchers often set 100 as the point at which a hospital is called high-volume.
A recent study of Medicare patients getting THRs in a high volume hospital reported a death rate of less than one percent. This was compared to a 1.3 percent rate in hospitals doing less than 10 joint replacements each year.
The research supports finding both a high-volume facility and an experienced doctor. Doctors who do more THRs also have lower rates of complications. Be aware that increased experience and volume can lower complications but not to zero. Problems still occur even with the most skilled surgeons. This may have to do with the age and overall health of the patient.Peter F. Sharkey, MD, et al. Relationship Between Surgical Volume and Early Outcomes of Total Hip Arthroplasty. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. September 2004. Vol. 19. No. 6. Pp. 694-699.
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