A new study is underway by Hospital for Special Surgery (HHS) researchers regarding weight loss and knee replacement surgery. Researchers are looking to see if weight loss surgery prior to knee replacements could improve outcomes—or eliminate the need for replacement all together—for patients.
Patients are often encouraged to lose weight prior to knee replacements. The question researchers want to know though is if a significant amount of weight is lost, could the knee replacements be postponed indefinitely.
“This is the first prospective study of its kind,” explained Alexander McLawhorn, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and lead investigator at HSS. “We hypothesize that weight loss resulting from bariatric surgery prior to knee replacement will improve joint replacement outcomes in obese patients with painful arthritis. It will also be interesting to see if weight loss and reduced stress on their joints will result in less pain and improved mobility, which may enable patients to postpone knee replacement surgery.”
Researchers have looked at past studies and have found a correlation between those with bariatric surgery and reduced complications both in the hospital and the months following hip or knee replacements. This new study will divide patients into two groups. The control group will have their scheduled knee replacement without undergoing a bariatric procedure (weight loss surgery). The experimental group will have weight loss surgery first and then their knee replacement surgery 9-13 months later (if they choose to proceed with the knee replacements).
Researchers will follow the patients for 3-4 years for follow-up questions to “to measure pain, physical functioning, quality of life and patient satisfaction; vital sign measurements; and physical function assessments, including the ability to walk a quarter of a mile and climb stairs.”
Bariatric surgery has already been shown to be helpful for several other conditions including diabetes, heart health, sleep apnea, joint pain, and others.
Photo Credit: 3 of 3, 1.5 years after Journey Deuce knee replacement, Michael L. Baird, 29 Dec. 2008. From X-rays taken at French Hospital, San Luis Obispo, CA. ref. flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/sets/72157600439835236/