The Australian Health Insurance Association (AHIA) has released statistics which show that hip and knee replacements are the most expensive surgical procedures regularly performed in the private sector.
Research has shown that the number of hip replacement procedures performed in private hospitals increased by 10.9 per cent in the 2009-10 financial year compared to the 12 months prior.
A total of 69,150 operations increased the amount of benefits paid by private health insurance companies for hip prosthesis to $178 million.
Knee replacements have also seen a surge in frequency, with a 13.1 per cent rise over the same period – accounting for 84,585 operations – with paid benefits also jumping 11 per cent.
South Australia has the highest rates for knee replacement surgery in the country, as well as one of the highest numbers of cases involving complications.
Individual states have also seen differences in the average number of days spent in hospital.
Western Australians remain in hospital for an average of 7.7 days, with Australian Capital Territory residents more likely to stay for 4.9 days.
The rises have been attributed to the increasing numbers of individuals with osteoarthritis and arthritis.
As Australia's aging population continues to grow, the number of these operations is likely to increase over the coming years.