Study: Knee Surgery Rates in Northern Calif. Areas Highest in State
Several northern California regions have the highest rates of knee replacement surgery in the state, according to a study by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Redding Record Searchlight reports. CHCF publishes California Healthline.
The findings on knee surgery rates are part of a larger study that looked at 13 elective surgery procedures.
For the study, researchers used data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Data were adjusted to account for variations in demographic information.
According to the study, residents in the Fall River Mills region underwent knee replacement surgeries at more than double the state average between 2005 and 2009.
The other areas that had the highest knee surgery rates also were in the northern part of the state. They are:
- Red Bluff;
- Weaverville; and
Physician's High Knee Procedure Rates
Most of the regions with the highest rates are within the referral area of knee surgeon Thomas Coon, who said in 2007 that he performed 600 knee replacements annually. He said he was able to perform so many surgeries because of a minimally invasive robotic surgery that he helped develop that allows him to conduct eight or nine surgeries daily.
Shannon Brownlee -- a study author and acting director of the New American Foundation Health Policy Program -- said that the study did not examine surgery rates for individual physicians but that Coon could have helped drive the region's high knee surgery rates.
The study authorsÂ noted that their findings do not indicate that the procedures are being performed unnecessarily.
Maribeth Shannon -- director of CHCF's Market and Policy Monitor Program -- said that it is possible the rates in the northern part of the state are ideal while other regions are lagging. She added that interpreting the data is difficult because there is no standard for how many surgeries should be performed in a specific community.
Shannon said patients in regions with high surgery rates should ask physicians about other treatment options (Sabalow, Redding Record Searchlight, 12/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.