Introduction The ‘weekend effect’ is said to occur when patient outcomes are adversely affected by the day of the week on which they present to hospital or have surgery. However, it is uncertain whether such a phenomenon exists for elective orthopaedic surgery. We investigated whether there is a ‘weekend effect’ in elective orthopaedic patients. Methods Retrospectively collected data were obtained from our institution’s electronic patient records. We collected demographic and International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems tenth revision coding data for all included patients. Multivariate analyses identified covariate-adjusted risk factors, associated with prolonged stays. Thirty-day mortality data were assessed according to the day on which surgery occurred. Results We analysed data for 892 patients over a one-year period. During the year, 457 patients had a total hip and 435 had a total knee replacement; 814 patients (91.3%) underwent surgery during the week, while 78 (8.7%) had surgery on a Saturday. There was no difference in average length of stay between the groups (5.0, 2.6 vs 5.0, 3.4, P = 0.95). Variables associated with prolonged hospitalisation included increasing age (covariate adjusted relative risk 1.02, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.03, P<0.001) and an American Society of Anesthesiologists score of 2, (relative risk 1.6, 95% confidence interval 1.15-2.20, P = 0.005). There was one death in a patient who underwent surgery on a Monday. Conclusions There is no ‘weekend effect’ for elective orthopaedic surgery.