The Australian Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons (ASOS) has endorsed the statements made in a recent report by Move (formerly the Rheumatism and Arthritis Association of Victoria) regarding the benefits of joint replacement surgery for Australian patients.

The report stated “Total joint replacement (TJR) is the cornerstone of surgical management of advanced OA of the hip and knee joint, demonstrated to be beneficial and cost-effective for improving pain and function. TJR surgery represents major orthopaedic surgery and should only be undertaken when all other nonoperative management strategies have been tried and there is a good probability of surgical success.”[1]

ASOS was unable to find any reference in the report to support the claim in the original Move media release that “as many as one in four of these operations are not required for people with osteoarthritis (OA)”.

Patients should be aware that a campaign by the private health fund lobby group Private Healthcare Australia is underway with the stated aim of cutting $100 billion from Australia’s healthcare costs over the next 10 years.[2]

ASOS members are regularly engaged in clinical meetings discussing the effectiveness of medical treatment including orthopaedic procedures.  Technology is broadening the ability of orthopaedic surgeons to perform beneficial interventions into musculoskeletal system, and help reduce pain and suffering and diminish the need for stronger analgesics.

ASOS supports patients making healthy lifestyle choices including diet and regular exercise.  Many Australians decide to become engaged in active sports which can result in injury.

We live in a free society where Australians decide for themselves what lifestyle activities they prefer.  Doctors can encourage and explain the benefits of certain choices but as individuals, we are all ultimately responsible for our own diet and exercise.

Decisions regarding orthopaedic surgery are not black and white and require a comprehensive understanding of whole body systems and the patient’s clinical pathology.  ASOS is proud of the considerable value contributed by Australian orthopaedic surgeons and is committed to supporting their efforts to maintain the highest standards of orthopaedic care.

Dr Kelly Macgroarty                                                     Stephen Milgate
Chairman                                                                     National Coordinator
ASOS                                                                                ASOS                                                                     0425 283 411

2 March 2018

[1] Move, Victorian Model of Care for Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee, February 2018, p. 28,

[2]We believe there is an opportunity to reduce Australia’s healthcare costs by $100 billion over a ten year period, while at the same time improving healthcare outcomes.”  Private Healthcare Australia, ‘Submission: Private Health Insurance Consultations 2015-16’, 4 Dec 2015, p.14.