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Do breast cancer patients have increased risk of complications after primary total hip and total knee arthroplasty?

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Breast cancer survivors have known risk factors that might influence the results of total hip arthroplasty (THA) or total knee arthroplasty (TKA). This study evaluated clinical outcomes of patients with breast cancer history after primary THA and TKA.


Our total joint registry identified patients with breast cancer history undergoing primary THA (n = 423) and TKA (n = 540). Patients were matched 1:1 based upon age, sex, BMI, procedure (hip or knee), and surgical year to non-breast cancer controls. Mortality, implant survival, and complications were assessed via Kaplan-Meier methods. Clinical outcomes were evaluated via Harris Hip Scores (HHSs) or Knee Society Scores (KSSs). Mean follow-up was six years (2 to 15).


Breast cancer patient survival at five years was 92% (95% confidence interval (CI) 89% to 95%) after THA and 94% (95% CI 92% to 97%) after TKA. Breast and non-breast cancer patients had similar five-year implant survival free of any reoperation or revision after THA (p ≥ 0.412) and TKA (p ≥ 0.271). Breast cancer patients demonstrated significantly lower survival free of any complications after THA (91% vs 96%, respectively; hazard ratio = 2 (95% CI 1.1 to 3.4); p = 0.017). Specifically, the rate of intraoperative fracture was 2.4% vs 1.4%, and venous thromboembolism (VTE) was 1.4% and 0.5% for breast cancer and controls, respectively, after THA. No significant difference was noted in any complications after TKA (p ≥ 0.323). Both breast and non-breast cancer patients experienced similar improvements in HHSs (p = 0.514) and KSSs (p = 0.132).


Breast cancer survivors did not have a significantly increased risk of mortality or reoperation after primary THA and TKA. However, there was a two-fold increased risk of complications after THA, including intraoperative fracture and VTE.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2024;106-B(4):365–371.

Correspondence should be sent to Cameron K. Ledford. E-mail:

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