To investigate the impact of COVID-19 in Sweden on rates of knee and hip surgeries.
We used healthcare data for the population of the southernmost region in Sweden (1.4 million inhabitants). We did an interrupted time-series analysis to estimate changes in rates and trends of joint replacements (JR), arthroscopies, and fracture surgeries for knee or hip in April-December 2020 compared to pre-COVID-19 levels adjusting for seasonal variations.
We found a drop of 54% (95% CI 42%; 68%) and 42% (95% CI 32%; 52%), respectively, in the rate of JRs and arthroscopies in April 2020 when compared to the counterfactual scenario. This was followed by an increase that brought the rates of JRs and arthroscopies back to their predicted levels also during the beginning of the second wave (November-December 2020). Acute fracture surgeries were largely unaffected, i.e. did not show any decrease as observed for the other surgeries.
In southern Sweden, we observed a marked decrease in elective knee and hip surgeries following the first wave of Covid-19. The rates remained close to normal during the beginning of the second wave suggesting that important elective surgeries for patients with end-stage osteoarthritis can still be offered despite an ongoing pandemic provided adequate routines and hospital resources.

© 2021. The Author(s).