The burden and utility of routine follow-up at one year after primary arthroplasty

T. N. Barrack, W. Abu-Amer, M. T. Schwabe, M. A. Adelani, J. C. Clohisy, R. M. Nunley, C. M. Lawrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Routine surveillance of primary hip and knee arthroplasties has traditionally been performed with office follow-up visits at one year postoperatively. The value of these visits is unclear. The present study aims to determine the utility and burden of routine clinical follow-up at one year after primary arthroplasty to patients and providers. Methods All patients (473) who underwent primary total hip (280), hip resurfacing (eight), total knee (179), and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (six) over a nine-month period at a single institution were identified from an institutional registry. Patients were prompted to attend their routine one-year postoperative visit by a single telephone reminder. Patients and surgeons were given questionnaires at the one-year postoperative visit, defined as a clinical encounter occurring at nine to 15 months from the date of surgery, regarding value of the visit. Results Compliance with routine follow-up at one year was 35%. The response rate was over 80% for all questions in the patient and clinician surveys. Overall, 75% of the visits were for routine surveillance. Patients reported high satisfaction with their visits despite the general time for attendance, including travel, being over four hours. Surgeons found the visits more worthwhile when issues were identified or problems were addressed. Conclusion Patient compliance with follow-up at one year postoperatively after primary hip and knee is low. Routine visits of asymptomatic patients deliver little practical value and represent a large time and cost burden for patients and surgeons. Remote strategies should be considered for routine postoperative surveillance primary hip and knee arthroplasties beyond the acute postoperative period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-89
Number of pages5
JournalBone and Joint Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


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