Surgical Weight Loss Helps Joint Replacement Patients
When joint replacement surgery is needed to resolve hip or knee pain, patients may want to consider surgical weight loss options first.
Two new studies at Hospital for Special Surgery found that people have a better outcome after hip or knee replacement surgery when they opt for bariatric surgery first.
“Up to 50 percent of hip replacements are performed in obese patients at some institutions, said Dr. Emily Dowel, an orthopedic surgeon and lead investigator of the study. “Obesity is associated with longer hospital stays, higher overall costs and higher failure rates, necessitating costly revision surgery.”
Obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions. It’s also a risk factor for developing knee and hip arthritis. After bariatric surgery, patients lose a significant amount of excess weight, reducing their risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
The study set out to examine what kind of benefit bariatric surgery had on joint replacement procedures.
“We know that bariatric surgery is a cost-effective intervention for morbid obesity,” said Dr. Alexander McLawhorn, the study’s author. “Yet, the cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery to achieve weight loss prior to joint replacement and thus decrease the associated complication and costs in morbidly obese patients was unknown.”
The findings showed that surgical weight loss before joint replacement is likely a cost-effective option…to improve outcomes in obese patients who are candidates for joint replacement.
McLawhorn noted that some patients may not be able to hold off on having joint replacement because their pain is so severe. Ideally, he said, orthopaedic surgeons should work with various health professionals to help a patient lose weight before having joint replacement to maximize the benefits.
Source: Hospital Special Surgery news release
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