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BACKGROUND: Follow-up visits 5 or 7 years after surgery were recommended for people having primary hip or knee replacement. The benefits of this practice to patients and the healthcare system, however, have not yet been specifically examined. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between long-term follow-up outpatient hospital visits and revision rates for patients who undergo primary knee or hip replacement surgery. METHODS: Cohorts were identified for patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery using medical records from primary care practices within the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) GOLD dataset linked to hospital records from the English Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) data. Two groups of patients were compared in terms of revision and mortality rates: those with at least one long-term (between five and 10 years since primary surgery) follow-up visit at the orthopaedic department ('Follow-up' group), and those without ('No follow-up' group). RESULTS: A total of 9856 (4349 in the Follow-up group) patients with knee replacement and 10,837 (4870 in the Follow-up group) with hip replacement were included in the analysis. For knee replacement, the incidence of revision was 3.6% for those followed-up and 0.6% for those not followed-up. An adjusted regression model confirmed the difference in the hazard ratio (HR) for revision was statistically significant (HR: 5.65 [95% CI 3.62 to 8.81]). Mortality at 4 years was lower for the Follow-up (17%) compared to the No follow-up group (21%), but this difference was not statistically significant (HR: 0.95 [0.84 to 1.07]). For hip replacement, the incidence of revision rates were 3.2 and 1.4% for the follow-up and not follow-up groups, respectively, the difference being statistically significant (HR: 2.34 [1.71 to 3.20]). Mortality was lower for the Follow-up (15%) compared to the No follow-up group (21%), but the difference was not statistically significant (HR: 0.91 [0.81 to 1.02]). CONCLUSION: Patients attending follow-up orthopaedic consultations show a higher risk of revision surgery compared to those who are not followed-up. A cause for this difference could not be identified in this study but a likely explanation is that surgeons play an effective role as ultimate arbitrators when identifying patients to be included in long-term follow-up lists.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmc musculoskelet disord

Publication Date





Follow-up, Hip, Joint replacement surgery, Knee, Mortality, Osteoarthritis, Revision surgery, Humans, Cohort Studies, Incidence, Outpatients, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, Knee Joint, Reoperation