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The Link between Knee Replacement Surgery & Obesity

The Link Between Knee Replacement Surgery & Obesity

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Normal wear and tear on joints is exacerbated by extra weight. Knees are tasked with carrying extra weight and are often worn prematurely.

Patients who are overweight or have been diagnosed with obesity are at a higher risk of osteoarthritis. In fact, patients with obesity are four to five times more likely to develop the disease. The University of Western Australia and Fiona Stanley Hospital analyzed data collected from the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry and discovered that 57 percent of the 40,000 patients getting knee replacements were obese.

One would assume the majority of these knee replacements would be caused by osteoarthritis, but 80 percent of the obese patients had a knee replacement due to horizontal fissuring. Horizontal fissuring happens when the area between the cartilage and bone breaks down, due to the increased pressure from carrying weight. Unlike patients within a normal weight range, people who are overweight and obese, on average, had replacement surgery eight years earlier.

Lead author Professor Ming-Hao Zheng, Associate Dean of UWA’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, stated that “This was different to the reason regular weight patients sought knee replacements—instead they underwent surgery mainly due to cartilage damage from normal wear and tear to a joint. This means obese patients are most likely to require further replacement of prosthetic implant as the lifespan of the prosthesis is less than a maximum of 15 years.”

It’s clear that patients with obesity could reduce joint and bone damage with weight loss. Even if a patient has already had a joint replacement, weight loss may extend the lifespan of their prosthetic joint. Orthopedists can increase their patient’s quality of life by adding medically supervised weight loss to their practice. To learn more, click here.

SOURCE: Medical Express

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