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Objectives. To determine the population requirement for total knee replacement (TKR) in England Methods. Population-based study using an age/sex-stratified random sample of 28 080 individuals aged 35 yr and over. Incident disease was estimated from prevalence by statistical modelling. The New Zealand priority criteria for major joint replacement were used for case selection. Results. Patients with knee disease were less likely than those with equally severe hip disease to have been referred to a specialist, to have consulted an orthopaedic surgeon or to be on a waiting list for joint replacement. The estimated annual requirement of TKRs in England, based on New Zealand Scores alone, was 55 800 (95% CI 40 700-70 900), contrasting sharply with an annual provision of 29 300 actually observed. However, in contrast to previously reported hip replacement data, when patient willingness to undergo surgery was considered, this estimate decreased considerably. Conclusions. There appears to be an underprovision of TKR in England. This may be due in part to differences in perception of disease severity and likely response to surgery between patients and general practitioners on one hand, and rheumatologists and orthopaedic surgeons on the other.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





516 - 521