Knee replacement operations have more than doubled over the last ten years, with revision surgery having increased by 300 per cent over the same period.
New figures have also shown that those in the bottom 20 per cent of Britain's economic scale receive significantly lower rates of surgery than their wealthier peers, around 20 per cent fewer operations per 1,000 people.
In fact, the authors of the survey, publishing their work in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, suggest that one in five joint replacement operations are conducted privately, and the disparity between rich and poor on this issue may actually be greater.
The statistics are predicated on analysis of statistics for hospital treatment in England between 1991 and 2000, a period over which, by comparison, the number of hip replacements increased by only 18 per cent.
And the survey's authors conclude that, if current trends persist, knee replacements will overtake hips as th