“According to the Canadian Orthopedic Association, as of this year, more than 160,000 patients in Canada are waiting for orthopedic surgery. The wait time between an appointment with a specialist and orthopedic treatment is 32.4 weeks, making it the second-highest speciality wait time for surgery in Canada.” CTV News September 7, 2023
There are two categories of wait lists in Orthopaedics.
1. Wait Time to see a Orthopaedic Surgeon:
The first wait list is the time between when a surgeon receives a referral letter from a physician to when the patient is physically seen for the first time by a surgeon.
Just because a patient is offered an appointment with a surgeon does not mean the patient will be offered surgery.
Only after a surgeon examines a patient can they determine if surgery is indicated.
2. Wait Time to Undergo Surgery:
The second wait list is time between the date a patient signs documents to proceed with surgery and when the patient actually undergoes surgery.
This data is collected and reported by provincial health organizations.
Hip Replacement Wait TImes
- Before the pandemic, it took 271 days for 90% of all patients waiting for hip replacement to undergo surgery.
- In 2021, it took 369 days for 90% of all patients waiting for hip replacement to undergo surgery.
Knee Replacements Wait Times
- Before the pandemic, it took 314 days for 90% of all patients waiting for knee replacement to undergo surgery.
- In 2021, it took 425 days for 90% of all patients waiting for knee replacement to undergo surgery.
Hip and Knee Replacement Data
In 2020-2021 there were 55,300 hip replacements and 55,285 knee replacements performed in Canada. This was a reduction of 12.9% for hip replacements and 26.4% for knee replacements from 2019-2020.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, 48,000 fewer hip and knee replacements were done in the past 2 fiscal years. This means that when the pandemic ended there were
56% of hip replacements and 57% of knee replacements were performed on females in 2020-2021.
The most common age group for hip replacements was 75 years and older with 43.9% in males and 31.4%in females.
The most common age group for knee replacements was 64 to 74 years with 42.4% in males and 41.5% in females.
The most common diagnosis for primary hip replacements was osteoarthritis at 69.4% of all patients – the second most common diagnosis was an acute hip fracture at 26.4%.
The most common diagnosis for primary knee replacements was osteoarthritis at 99% of all patients.
The average length of stay for a hip or knee replacement in 2020-2021 was 3.8 days.
The average cost of a hip or knee replacement hospitalization in 2020-2021 was $11,793 which was 11.9% higher than in 2019-2020.
In 2020–2021, the hospital-related cost of hip and knee replacements (including physician cost and excluding rehabilitation costs) was $1.3 billion. This cost was $157 million dollars lower than 2019-2020 because of a 20.2. % reduction in the total number of replacements performed.
Canadian Institute for Health Information. Hip and Knee Replacements in Canada: CJRR Annual Report, 2020–2021. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2022.
Cette publication est aussi disponible en français sous le titre Arthroplasties de la hanche et du genou au Canada : rapport annuel du RCRA, 2020-2021.
ISBN 978-1-77479-129-5 (PDF)
To read a copy of the 2020-2021 Hip and Knee Replacements Report, click here.