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I see from the internet that if I want to have the best total hip replacement, I should go to a high-volume hospital. What does that mean really?

High versus low-volume hospitals refers to the number of procedures done at that facility. A low-volume hospital for total hip replacements (THRs) probably refers to a hospital where one to 10 THRs are done each year. High-volume refers to facilities where 100 or more procedures are completed on an annual basis.

Some studies show there is a connection between volume and outcomes. The more surgeries of one type done, the better the chances are for a good result. But other studies fail to show any major link between hospital volume and patient outcomes.

It may be that finding a high-volume surgeon is more important than a high-volume hospital. There are some studies that support the idea that hospital-volume effect is important, but it's the surgeons who perform the most number of a specific operation who have the best results.

A large survey recently conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) also reported that hip replacements done in smaller hospitals on older, sicker patients were likely to have higher complication rates. The surgery was usually unplanned because of an emergency. This result was reported when compared to total hip replacements performed on an elective (or planned) basis.


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