Single Surgeon versus Co-Surgeons in Primary Total Joint Arthroplasty: Does “Two Is Better than One” Apply to Surgeons?

Tal Frenkel Rutenberg, Maria Vitenberg, Efrat Daglan, Assaf Kadar, Shai Shemesh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: As the demand for total joint arthroplasties (TJA) increases steadily, so does the pressure to train future surgeons and, at the same time, achieve optimal outcomes. We aimed to identify differences in operative times and short-term surgical outcomes of TJAs performed by co-surgeons versus a single attending surgeon. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 597 TJAs, including 239 total hip arthroplasties (THAs) and 358 total knee arthroplasties (TKAs) was conducted. All operations were performed by one of four fellowship-trained attending surgeons as the primary surgeon. The assisting surgeons were either attendings or residents. Results: In 51% of THA and in 38% of TKA, two attending surgeons were scrubbed in. An additional scrubbed-in attending was not found to be beneficial in terms of surgical time reduction or need for revision surgeries within the postoperative year. This was also true for THAs and for TKAs separately. An attending co-surgeon was associated with a longer hospital stay (p = 0.028). Surgeries performed by fewer surgeons were associated with a shorter surgical time (p = 0.036) and an increased need for blood transfusion (p = 0.033). Neither the rate of intraoperative complications nor revisions differed between groups, regardless of the number of attending surgeons scrubbed in or the total number of surgeons. Conclusion: A surgical team comprised of more than a single attending surgeon in TJAs was not found to reduce surgical time, while the participation of residents was not related with worse patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1683
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • arthroplasty
  • assisting surgeon
  • attending
  • hip
  • knee
  • resident


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