Due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, a large number of elective knee replacement procedures had to be postponed in both early and late 2020 in most western countries including Germany and the UK. It is unknown how public interest and demand for total knee arthroplasties was affected. Public interest in knee pain, knee osteoarthritis and knee arthroplasty in Germany and the UK was investigated using Google Trend Analysis. In addition, we monitored for changes in patient composition in our outpatient department. As of early March in Germany and of late March in the UK, until the lockdown measures, a 50 to 60% decrease in relative search frequency was observed in all categories investigated compared to the beginning of the year. While public interest for knee pain rapidly recovered, decreased interest for knee osteoarthritis and replacement lasted until the easing of measures. Shortly prior to and during the first lockdown mean search frequency for knee replacement was significantly decreased from 39.7% and 36.6 to 26.9% in Germany and from 47.7% and 50.9 to 23.7% in the UK (Germany: p
= 0.022 prior to lockdown, p
< 0.001 during lockdown; UK: p
< 0.0001 prior to and during lockdown). In contrast, mean search frequencies did not differ significantly from each other for any of the investigated time frames during the second half of 2020 in both countries. Similarly, during the first lockdown, the proportion of patients presenting themselves to receive primary knee arthroplasty compared to patients that had already undergone knee replacement declined markedly from 64.7% to 46.9%. In contrast, patient composition changed only marginally during the lockdown measures in late 2020 in both Germany and the UK. We observed a high level of public interest in knee arthroplasty despite the ongoing pandemic. The absence of a lasting decline in interest in primary knee arthroplasty suggests that sufficient symptom reduction cannot be achieved without surgical care for a substantial number of patients.
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