About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland presents data on the number of arthroplasty (joint replacement) operations in Scotland between 2001 and 2019 and on the frequency of complications such as infection or revision surgery following hip and knee replacements.

Main points

  • Since 2001 the number of first (primary) hip or knee replacements performed in Scotland has more than doubled, from 7,562 in 2001 to 15,649 in 2019.
  • The number of shoulder joint replacements has increased across Scotland, from 234 in 2001 to 543 in 2019.
  • The percentage who died within 90 days of revision of a hip replacement increased from 0.2% in 2018 to 1.7% in 2019. Possible explanations are detailed in our ePublication (external website).
  • The percentage of emergency hip replacements that undergo revision has increased from 25.5% in 2014 to 38.0% in 2019. As seen in the chart below revision of hip replacements now forms an increasingly large proportion of arthroplasty procedures.

Hip and knee arthroplasty: incidence of non-elective surgery by type of arthroplasty

Figure 1e Hip and knee arthroplasty, primary and revision: incidence of non-elective surgery per year (2001 - 2019). Hip arthroplasty showing increasing trend from 2014 to 2019.


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 many other countries are able to produce good quality data for a very modest outlay with the principal aim of providing 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 in the full Scottish Arthroplasty Project report (external website).

The next update of this publication will be in August 2021.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.isdarthroplasty@nhs.net.

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: 07 October 2022
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