Minorities tend to be less likely to undergo knee surgery, but experience more complications when they do, a recent study suggests.

Yan Ma, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and colleagues conducted the study, which appeared recently in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

In their study, they analyzed federal data on more than 547,000 total knee replacement surgeries done between 2001 and 2008 in eight states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

According to their findings, per a media release from MedlinePlus, 87% of the patients were white. The rest were blacks (nearly 6%) and Hispanics (4%). Asians and Native Americans each represented fewer than 1% of patients, and mixed-race patients, fewer than 2%.

They also note that minority patients were less likely to undergo knee surgery in hospitals that perform large numbers of this type of surgery. In addition, they note that black, Native American, and mixed-race patients had significantly higher rates of complications and in-hospital deaths.

“These findings create an opportunity for health care providers to consider differences in utilization and outcomes that may result directly from their referral patterns,” Ma states in the release.

[Source: MedlinePlus]