Ethnic and Racial Factors Influencing Well-being, Perceived Pain, and Physical Function After Primary Total Joint Arthroplasty

  • Carlos J. Lavernia
  • Jose C. Alcerro
  • Juan S. Contreras
  • Mark D. Rossi
Symposium: AAOS/ORS/ABJS Musculoskeletal Healthcare Disparities Research Symposium

DOI: 10.1007/s11999-011-1841-y

Cite this article as:
Lavernia, C.J., Alcerro, J.C., Contreras, J.S. et al. Clin Orthop Relat Res (2011) 469: 1838. doi:10.1007/s11999-011-1841-y



Studies suggest, even when controlling for disease severity, socioeconomic status, education, and access to care, racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care and have worse perceived pain and function before and after total joint arthroplasty.


We evaluated the influence of race and ethnicity on well-being, pain, and function after total joint arthroplasty and determined whether race, ethnicity, sex, and joint involvement influenced perceived function and pain after total joint arthroplasty.

Patients and Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the records of 1749 patients receiving total joint arthroplasty (739 hips and 1010 knees). Sixty-eight percent were women, with a mean age of 65 years at followup. We assessed patients preoperatively and at a minimum of 2 years (mean, 5.1 years; range, 2–16 years) on perceived well-being, function, and pain, as well as clinical assessment tools. Also, we assessed the behavior of dependent measures between groups over time.


Preoperatively, in both TKA and THA candidates, African American patients presented with worse scores. Postoperatively, all patients had substantial improvement, yet African Americans who had TKA or THA continued to have worse scores on some measures. In both TKA and THA, women had worse scores.


Racial and ethnic minorities undergoing hip and knee arthroplasty appear to have worse patient-perceived outcomes (well-being, pain, and function) when compared to whites. This discrepancy is most pronounced for African Americans.

Level of Evidence

Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos J. Lavernia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jose C. Alcerro
    • 2
  • Juan S. Contreras
    • 2
  • Mark D. Rossi
    • 3
  1. 1.Orthopaedic Institute at Mercy HospitalMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Arthritis Surgery Research Foundation, IncMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physical TherapyFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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