What are the medical expenses of knee replacement surgery in Australia?

What are the medical expenses of knee replacement surgery in Australia?

Why Should I Consider Knee Replacement Surgery?

With the aging of population come associated health problems such as arthritis, and other joint issues. Among aging Australians the problem of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is very common often leading patients to look for hip and knee replacement surgeries. Among the two, knee replacement surgery is the more common procedure.

For patients who have concerns regarding prolonged pain due to movement or other activity in the legs, a knee replacement surgery can bring relief and allow for improved movement. Knee replacement also happens to be more common as the operation may be required by both the elderly, due to the aging process, as well as the younger age group due to sporting mishaps and injuries.

If unchecked the condition can aggravate quickly causing severe pain and mobility impairment. Initially the condition may be treated with some conservative therapies but once these have been exhausted, there remains the option of surgical intervention.

The Cost Of Knee Replacement Surgery

According to data collected in 2012-13 more than 25,000 knee replacement surgeries were carried out, the cost of which was funded through private health insurance. The expenses incurred on these operations including the cost of prostheses amounted to a total of $522 million. Both figures including the number of surgeries as well as the amount spent on the procedures were higher than those of the previous year.

For knee replacement surgical procedures those surgical procedures that did not involve any complications, the lowest average benefit paid totalled $17,888 and the highest rested at $20,423. Even with health insurance to assist with funding the operations, many Australians still have to pay certain out of pocket expenses to cover the entire cost. For knee replacement surgeries this amount can go up from $500 and above to $1000 from personal funds.

The cost for primary knee replacement surgery with severe complications can start from $13,640 and go higher as the demands of the surgical procedure change. For a knee replacement surgery that follows a primary surgery with complications with a revision and complications, the cost can go up to $19,620 whereas for a procedure that involves revision and complications the surgical costs can total $35,912.

Patients who have pre surgical visits before the operation might have to spend around $170 for such consultations. The surgery and recuperation time costs for male and female patients also vary respectively. For male patients, primary knee replacement surgery and recuperation with complications in terms of time costs could amount to $2,096 whereas those having primary and revision procedures with complications may have to face expenses of up to $4,197. Male patients undergoing revision knee replacement surgery with complications may face costs of $6,246 for their procedure

Likewise, female patients with primary knee replacement surgery and recuperation with complications may incur time costs of up to $1,484 and those with primary surgery followed by revision and complications may be subjected to expenses of up to $2,970. Female patients receiving surgery and recuperation treatment for revision knee replacement procedure can expect to see expenses amounting to $4,422.


1. The growing cost of hip and knee replacements: http://www.hica.com.au/health-insurance-news/the-growing-cost-of-hip-and-knee-replacements

2. Replacing hips younger and having caesareans older: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/438734/replacing-hips-younger-and-having-caesareans-older/

3. ACE Prevention Briefing Paper- Hip and knee replacement for osteoarthritis: http://www.sph.uq.edu.au/docs/BODCE/ACE-P/ACE-P_briefing_Hip_Knee.pdf

4. Two knees or not two knees? Patient costs and outcomes following bilateral and unilateral total knee joint replacement surgery for OA: http://www.leopinczewski.com.au/library/a6_80/static/documents/PinczewskiMarchOAC2004.pdf