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Changes in the rate of publicly financed knee arthroscopies: an analysis of data from the Norwegian patient registry from 2012 to 2016
  1. Robin Holtedahl1,
  2. Jens Ivar Brox2,3,
  3. Arne Kristian Aune4,
  4. Daniel Nguyen5,
  5. May Arna Risberg6,
  6. Ole Tjomsland5
  1. 1 Department of Habilitation and Rehabilitation, Innlandet Hospital Trust-Division Ottestad, Ottestad, Norway
  2. 2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3 Medical Faculty, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  4. 4 Orthopaedic Department, Aleris Hospital, Drammen, Norway
  5. 5 South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, Hamar, Norway
  6. 6 Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Robin Holtedahl; robi-hol{at}


Objective To examine rates of publicly financed knee arthroscopic surgery in Norway between 2012 and 2016.

Design Analysis of anonymised data from the National Patient Registry.

Interventions Beginning in 2012, South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority implemented administrative measures to bring down rates of knee arthroscopy. Similar measures were not introduced in the other three Regional Health Authorities.

Main outcome measures We analysed annual national rates of publicly financed knee arthroscopies in 2012 and 2016. We compared the rates in South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority with corresponding rates in the rest of the country. Variations by county, public hospital versus publicly reimbursed private hospital, gender and age were also assessed.

Results The overall annual rate of arthroscopic procedures declined by 33% from 2012 to 2016, from 310 to 207 per 100 000 inhabitants, respectively. Hospitals in South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority reported a 48% reduction, compared with mean 13% in the other three Regional Health Authorities. In public hospitals, rates decreased nationally by 42%, while rates in publicly reimbursed private hospitals increased by 12%. Rates in publicly reimbursed private hospitals decreased by 30% in South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority but increased by 63% in the other Regional Health Authorities. The proportion of patients ≥50 years (excluding meniscal repairs) in Norway was 54% in 2012 and fell to 46% in 2016. Average rates per county varied by a factor of 3:1.

Conclusion We report a marked overall reduction of knee arthroscopic procedures from 2012 to 2016 in publicly funded hospitals. The largest decrease was reported in South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, and this coincides in time with implemented administrative measures. The results suggest that the trend of increasing rates of knee arthroscopies can be reversed through purposeful professional and administrative interventions.

  • arthroscopy
  • knee
  • meniscus
  • osteoarthritis
  • degenerative
  • rates

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  • Contributors RH, OT, JIB, MAR and AKA conceptualised the study. DN searched and provided data from the National Patient Registry. AKA provided expertise on arthroscopic procedures and coding. RH analysed the data and did the statistical analysis. RH prepared the initial manuscript draf, which was subsequently edited by all authors. All authors read and approved the final manuscript and agreed to submission. RH is the guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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