Arthroscopy of the knee is one of the most commonly performed orthopaedic procedures worldwide. Large-volume outcome data have not previously been available for English NHS patients. Prospectively collected admissions data, routinely collected on every English NHS patient, were analysed to determine the rates of complications within 30 days (including re-operation and re-admission), 90-day symptomatic venous thromboembolism and all-cause mortality. There were 301 701 operations performed between 2005 and 2010 – an annual incidence of 9.9 per 10 000 English population. Of these, 16 552 (6%) underwent ligament reconstruction and 106 793 (35%) underwent meniscal surgery. The 30-day re-admission rate was 0.64% (1662) and 30-day wound complication rate was 0.26% (677). The overall 30-day re-operation rate was 0.40% (1033) and the 90-day pulmonary embolism rate was 0.08% (230), of which six patients died. 90-day mortality was 0.02% (47). Age < 40 years, male gender and ligament reconstruction were significantly associated with an increased rate of 30-day re-admission and unplanned re-operation. In addition, a significant increase in 30-day admission rates were seen with Charlson comorbidity scores of 1 (p = 0.037) and ≥ 2 (p < 0.001) compared with scores of 0, and medium volume units compared with high volume units (p < 0.001).
Complications following arthroscopy of the knee are rare. It is a safe procedure, which in the majority of cases is performed as day case surgery. These data can be used for quality benchmarking, in terms of consent, consultant re-validation and individual unit performance.
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
Supplementary material. Tables showing the Charlson comorbidity index by International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (10th revision; ICD-10) codes, and details of the ICD-10 codes and Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys Classification of Surgical Operations and Procedures (4th revision; OPCS-4) codes used in analysis are available with the electronic version of this paper on our website at www.jbjs.org.uk
- Received March 11, 2011.
- Accepted June 28, 2011.
- © 2011 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery