A new study from the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) this year has confirmed that obese patients who undergo weight loss surgery in Kansas City (or elsewhere) before having knee replacement surgery fare better than those who do not.

Why is Bariatric Surgery Beneficial Before Knee or Hip Replacement Surgery?

The American Society of Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery’s (ASMBS) February newsletter, “Connect”, referenced the JBJS study in an article titled, “New Study Shows Bariatric Surgery Before Total Knee Replacement May Reduce Complications and Costs for Patients with Severe Obesity”. They state, “…patients with severe obesity who have bariatric surgery two years before knee replacement tend to have fewer complications and an improved quality of life…”

The ASMBS shared details from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) who state, “Obesity is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis and places total knee replacement patients at increased risk for complications, including delayed wound healing, infection, the need for revision surgery and lower functional outcomes.”

Knee Replacement SurgeryLead study author, Alexander McLawhorn, MD, MBA, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, relayed, “We know that bariatric surgery can be an effective treatment for morbid obesity, reducing a patient’s excess weight. In addition, the surgery also reduces the burden of co-morbidities, like diabetes and high blood pressure, and may extend a patient’s life span.”

But study researchers were also wanting to know if it would be cost effective to recommend bariatric surgery to achieve weight loss and improve preoperative health prior to joint replacement. They found the study’s computer model did predict that patients with severe obesity who have bariatric surgery two years before knee replacement are more likely to have an improved quality of life at a lower cost than obese patients who have joint replacement without bariatric surgery and significant weight loss before that surgery.

According to the ASMBS, Dr. McLawhorn has suggested results of the new study might help surgeons in counseling patients with severe obesity and knee osteoarthritis in devising individualized treatment plans that include “optimization of overall health, nutrition, and weight prior to knee replacement.”

Bariatric Surgery Before Joint Replacement Makes Sense!

In summary, ASMBS President, Raul Rosenthal, MD, concluded “This study shows it makes both health and economic sense for patients with severe obesity and osteoarthritis to strongly consider bariatric surgery before knee replacement. Not only will the knee surgery go better, but the improvements in overall health can be dramatic.”

If you are struggling with obesity and have joint problems, or perhaps are moving in the direction of joint replacement surgery for weight bearing joints, The Bariatric Center of Kansas City urges you to consider the benefits of bariatric surgery prior to joint replacement and recommends a discussion about it with your Orthopedic Surgeon.