Obesity is almost a pandemic in the current health scenario, and it has often been established that it leads to many disorders, including diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart problems, and more. Morbidly obese people face more complications in their daily movements and have been known to undergo Total Knee Replacement surgery at younger ages than those with a lower BMI.
Obesity is a major contributor to the increasing need for joint replacement surgery among younger people. Obesity overloads weight-bearing joints, wearing them away and necessitating joint replacement surgery.
And yet, it is precisely these obese patients who tend to have less successful and lasting outcomes after surgery. Functionally, obese patients do not fare as well or recover as quickly as those with normal weight.
Obese patients suffer more complications from joint replacement surgery than normal-weight patients. The risk increases with higher BMI scores. For example, obese patients with BMIs in the 40-50 range suffer post-surgical complications such as infections, wound-healing problems, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes, and prosthesis failure.
Patients who are obese are also more likely to have other conditions that increase the likelihood of a poor outcome after joint replacement surgery.
In one survey of joint replacement patients under age 60, 77% were obese compared to only 26% of the general population. The chances of a knee replacement are eight times higher for patients with a BMI greater than 30 and 28 times higher for patients with a BMI over 35.
Obesity also results in the necessity of knee and hip replacement earlier, for hip replacements, ten years earlier than the normal population, For knee replacements, 13 years earlier.
Losing extra weight, even 5 to 10 per cent of total body weight, can significantly improve a patient’s post-surgical prognosis.
This is because each kg of body weight lost removes 5 to 10 kgs of pressure from the knee joint. A 10-kgs loss relieves a whopping 50 – 100 kgs of pressure from the knee joints. This relieves weight, pain, and discomfort and restores function and mobility. Sometimes it can eliminate the need for surgery.
When obese patients lose weight before a joint replacement surgery, the surgery will be easier, recovery faster, and result in longer-lasting out comes.
The surgery might result in some weight loss for patients. Yet, most patients – including those already with BMI exceeding 30 – tend to gain body weight after surgery, even when involved in some exercise and even when you subtract the importance of the implant.
Though obesity may be why you need a total knee replacement, for the surgery to bear desirable results for longer, it is important that you check your body weight and get it to a healthy BMI.
Want to discuss your knee replacement options but are worried about your weight? Contact Dr. Sumit Talwar, the best bariatric surgeon in Bangalore.