At a symposium held during the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting, 2009, the role of gender in the development of osteoarthritis was reviewed. One study showed that the incidence of osteoarthritis is 1.7 times higher in women overall. Several factors influence this difference, but the role of hormones and estrogen in postmenopausal women may be significant. In one study of elderly women taking estrogen replacement the incidence of osteoarthritis was 60% lower than those women who had never taken estrogen replacement therapy. Other studies have shown that women tend to be more physically disabled at the time of total knee replacement, due to putting off surgical intervention for their arthritis. In another study it showed than men are more likely to have a recommendation of a total knee replacement for osteoarthritis of the knee than women, underscoring a possible unconscious gender bias.
The effectiveness of knee replacement in women seems to be equal to that of men. In a review of the literature, patient satisfaction and implant survival were the same in both sexes.
Lastly, the need for a gender specific implant was reviewed. It was felt that the majority of implant systems available today have a wide range of sizes that accommodate the differences in male and female anatomy and surgeons should use the implant system that best accommodates these anatomical variations.