Start of Main Content

Healthcare Insights

What are the most common orthopedic surgeries?

Orthopedic surgery is one of the most in-demand and desirable fields in healthcare, with more than 27,000 active orthopedic surgeons in the U.S. In fact, orthopedic surgeons report high career satisfaction in this field, with 97% reporting that they would choose the specialty again.

What is orthopedic surgery?

Orthopedic surgery is a medical specialty dedicated to diagnosing, treating, and repairing conditions of the musculoskeletal system. This includes disease, disorders, or injury of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.

Using the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset, we have ranked the top 10 most common orthopedic procedures. The data represents the CPT codes’ percentages of all orthopedic surgeries and orthopedic spine surgeries in 2022.

Top 10 most common orthopedic surgeries

RankHCPCS/CPT codeHCPCS/CPT description% of total orthopedic procedures in 2022Explore dataset
120610Drainage/injection into joint or bursa without ultrasound guidance22.50%Explore
236415Routine venipuncture5.50%Explore
327447Total knee arthroplasty4.90%Explore
420611Drainage/injection into joint or bursa with ultrasound guidance3.30%Explore
527130Total hip arthroplasty 2.90%Explore
629881Knee arthroscopy/surgery 2.30%Explore
720550Injection into tendon sheath/ligament2.00%Explore
829826Arthroscopy, shoulder, surgical decompression of subacromial space with partial acromioplasty 1.90%Explore
929827Shoulder arthroscopy1.80%Explore
1064721Carpal tunnel surgery 1.50%Explore

Fig. 1. Data is from the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset and is updated yearly. Data accessed September 2023.

What is the most performed orthopedic surgery?

The most performed orthopedic surgical procedure is drainage or injection into a joint or bursa without ultrasound guidance (CPT code 20610), accounting for 22.5% of all orthopedic surgical procedures. This code is used for procedures in which a provider inserts a needle into a joint or bursa to either remove fluid from the joint or inject a therapeutic drug into the joint without the guidance of an ultrasound. This procedure is commonly used to treat joint pain and swelling resulting from conditions like arthritis, lupus, Lyme disease, and tendonitis, to name a few.

The second most common orthopedic surgical procedure is routine venipuncture (CPT code 36415). This code, which accounts for 5.5% of all orthopedic surgical procedures, is used for procedures in which a needle is inserted into a vein to collect a blood sample. This type of procedure is commonly performed before other surgeries as a means of identifying any underlying problems that may cause complications during surgery, likely a reason why it ranks so high on the list of most performed orthopedic surgical procedures.

The third top orthopedic surgical procedure, accounting for 4.9% of all orthopedic surgical procedures, is total knee arthroplasty (CPT code 27447). More commonly known as a knee replacement, this surgery involves replacing the surface of the joint with metal and plastic parts.

Where are orthopedic surgeries performed?

As many orthopedic surgeries are outpatient procedures, many of the procedures are performed in outpatient settings, like ambulatory surgery centers. From 2018-2022, there was a 304% increase in knee replacement claims in ASC settings, according to the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset. These outpatient procedures, however, are sometimes still performed in hospital settings.

Providers can also treat orthopedic conditions in orthopedic centers, which are facilities specialized in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.

Learn more

Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.