About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland presents data on the number of arthroplasty (joint replacement) operations in Scotland between 2001 and 2020 and on the frequency of complications such as infection or revision surgery following hip and knee replacements.

An accompanying release is available as an e-publication (external website).

Main points

  • The impact of the pandemic on arthroplasty operations was clear with 15,864 first (primary) hip or knee replacements performed in Scotland in 2019 compared to 7,233 in 2020.
Image caption Primary hip and knee arthroplasty procedures per year (2001 to 2020)
  • The percentage who died within 90 days of revision of a hip replacement reduced from 1.7% in 2019 to 0.3% in 2020. This is more in line with previous years.
  • The rates of major orthopaedic complications – dislocation, infection and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) within one year – are all less than 8 per 1,000 procedures.


The Scottish Arthroplasty Project remains one of the oldest arthroplasty registry organisations in the world. It is a member of the International Society of Arthroplasty Registries and, in comparison to organisations in many other countries, it is able to produce good quality data for a very modest outlay. Its principal aim is to provide quality assurance and adverse outcome monitoring of major joint replacement surgery in Scotland.

The Scottish Arthroplasty Project analyses hospital inpatient information to monitor the number of complications following hip and knee replacements in Scotland, and to ensure that surgeons performing these operations do not have a higher than expected complication rate. Where there is a higher than expected number of complications following operations performed by a particular surgeon, the surgeon is notified and asked to investigate the reasons for the increased rate in complications and to develop an action plan to reduce their recurrence.

Further information

Further information can be found on the Scottish Arthroplasty Project website (external website).

The next update of this publication will be in September 2022.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.arthroplasty@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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