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Interesting data on growth of total knee replacements that are far outstripping Medicare estimates:

At about $15,000 each, the total annual tab for the operations performed on patients of any age is now about $9 billion, the researchers said. By comparison, Medicare spending for 2011 was estimated at $550 billion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. For patients too young for Medicare, many insurers offer some degree of coverage if the procedure is ordered by a doctor, but plans can differ widely.

Demand for the operations could reach 3.5 million annually by 2030, according to an editorial accompanying the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That would be a 5 fold increase in demand in next 20 years!! Presently there are 600,000 knee replacements annually in US.

"Ultimately there's going to be [only] some number of these we can afford," Dr. Cram said. But how to limit the procedure or who should get it will be a "really contentious debate," he said.

The cost side consideration and what is actually affordable.

Dr. Cram and his colleagues found that the length of hospital stays after knee replacement decreased significantly, to 3.5 days in 2007-2010 from 7.9 days in 1991-1994

Only 3.5 days average stay in hospital for total knee that to MAKO.
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