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Arno A. Macken, Ante Prkic, Izaäk F. Kodde, Jonathan Lans, Neal C. Chen, and Denise Eygendaal

  • National registries provide useful information in understanding outcomes of surgeries that have late sequelae, especially for rare operations such as total elbow arthroplasty (TEA).

  • A systematic search was performed and data were compiled from the registries to compare total elbow arthroplasty outcomes and evaluate trends. We included six registries from Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

  • Inflammatory arthritis was the most common indication for total elbow arthroplasty, followed by acute fracture and osteoarthritis. When comparing 2000–2009 to 2010–2017 data, total elbow arthroplasty for inflammatory arthritis decreased and total elbow arthroplasty for fracture and osteoarthritis increased. There was an increase in the number of revision TEAs over this time period.

  • The range of indications for total elbow arthroplasty is broadening; total elbow arthroplasty for acute trauma and osteoarthritis is becoming increasingly more common. However, inflammatory arthritis remains the most common indication in recent years. This change is accompanied by an increase in the incidence of revision surgery.

Cite this article: EFORT Open Rev 2020;5:215-220. DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.5.190036

A Prkić, N P Vermeulen, B W Kooistra, B The, M P J van den Bekerom, and D Eygendaal

  • Purpose: Total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) is rarely performed compared to other arthroplasties. For many surgical procedures, literature shows better outcomes when they are performed by experienced surgeons and in so-called ‘high-volume’ hospitals. We systematically reviewed the literature on the relationship between surgical volume and outcomes following TEA.

  • Methods: A literature search was performed using the MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL databases. The literature was systematically reviewed for original studies comparing TEA outcomes among hospitals or surgeons with different annual or career volumes. For each study, data were collected on study design, indications for TEA, number of included patients, implant types, cut-off values for volume, number and types of complications, revision rate and functional outcome measures. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale.

  • Results: Two studies, which included a combined 2301 TEAs, found that higher surgeon volumes were associated with lower revision rates. The examined complication rates did not differ between high- and low-volume surgeons. In one study, low-hospital volume is associated with an increased risk of revision compared to high-volume hospitals, but for other complication types, no difference was found.

  • Conclusions: Based on the results, the evidence suggests that high-volume centers have a lower revision rate in the long term. No minimum amount of procedures per year can be advised, as the included studies have different cut-off values between groups. As higher surgeon- and center-volume, (therefore presumably experience) appear to yield better outcomes, centralization of total elbow arthroplasty should be encouraged.