Obesity and Knee Replacement

Obesity and knee replacement.

Have you been told you told because of your obesity knee replacement is not an option?

How many times have I have this over the years- if you suffer from obesity and knee replacement is your only option you can’t have surgery. If you are too fat then the surgery won’t work for you and so it is not worth doing.

Well this new research has over turned this notion and shown it is simply not true.

The results of this study on obesity and knee replacement was reported by New Medical This is what they say:

Moreover, there was no significant difference in the magnitude of improvement for patients with a morbidly obese BMI of 40-60 kg/m2 and those with a healthy BMI of 15-24.9 kg/m2 for the Oxford Knee Score, the EuroQoL (EQ)-5D index, and the EQ-5D visual analog scale, after adjustment for age, gender, general health and comorbidity, and American Society of Anesthesiologists grade.

“Obese patients gained as much benefit from knee replacement as patients with a ‘normal’ BMI, even if they did not end up at a similar postoperative level,” report Paul Baker (Newcastle University) and co-workers in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

So it made no difference how much people weighed, they got the same level of  IMPROVEMENT. Obese people did not reach the same levels of function that their slimmer counterparts did but then they probably started from a lower function level so why should they have the same function post knee replacement?

Obesity and Knee Replacement Risks

The report says

Although patients with obese (BMI=25-29.9 kg/m2) and morbidly obese BMIs had a significantly higher rate of wound complications than those with a healthy BMI (17 and 12 vs 9%), rates of bleeding, readmission, and reoperation did not significantly differ.

Please do not think that I am condoning being obese. I am not! Being obese carries significant health risks.

What I am saying is obese people should not be discriminated against. This is the first time ( to my knowledge) a study has investigated improvement rather than outcome and obese people get the same improvement.

If, however, the surgeon believes your general health is not good enough due to obesity and knee replacement is not an option because of your health problems, then fair enough. But you have no high blood pressure, cardiac or breathing difficulties (all known surgical risks) then you should have the same right to a knee replacement as anyone else.

I know Lesley had this problem. She was told she had

to loose weight before they will take the matter further- a catch 22 situation as if you are not mobile you cannot exercise!

Have you worried about obesity and knee replacement surgery? Have you been told you can’t have surgery? If you have tell us your story in the comments below…

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8 Responses to Obesity and Knee Replacement

  1. Lesley says:

    Lesley is still waiting…along with other health issues still in the same boat, but trying to get there…got a diagnosis for the other health issue so think now under control..Adam bless him is keeping me mobile with chiro and massage, was told I had arthritis in left hip as I had pain when walking, no x ray or scan just assumed….after seeing Adam once a week for treatment I can now lift my leg again and turn over in bed without actually manually ‘lifting’ my leg!! Back to the gym and pool this week hopefully.

    • sophie says:

      Hi Lesley,

      Good to hear from you. Typical diagnosis (Doctors have X-ray vision didn’t you know!).

      Whether this proves to be OA or not seeing Adam regularly will help enormously as many UK chiros do massage and manipulation. The NZ one’s don’t so you have to pay twice- once for a massage an once for adjustment which is half a job to me!

      Let me know how you get on.

      P.S. For anyone else reading these comments this is Lesley from the testimonial page and her son Adam has recently qualified as a chiropractor so lucky Lesley not longer has to pay for treatment (I hope anyway!!!)

  2. Becky Hagerman says:

    I’m 39 years old and morbidly obese. I need a knee replacement. I’ve needed one for quite awhile. I’ve done the shots,medicene,physical therapy. My Dr won’t do the surgery and im constantly in pain now I’m also having pain in my hip and heel. I’ve. Been told to have gastric bypass surgery and lose 150 pounds. I’m at the end of my rope and have constant pain.

    • Dr. Sophie says:

      I hate to do this to you but I agree with your Doctor. You do need to loose weight not only for your OA but also for you. Your general health will be suffering and if you have an anaesthetic you have severely increased risks associated and also your new knee won’t last long with the extra weight. If gastric bypass is the only way you will lose the weight then do it and get rid of the pain. Sorry I couldn’t be more help but there is no magic pill for OA 🙁

  3. Mrs Fat Chick says:

    It’s REALLY hard to lose weight when your knees are gone. Try jogging around the block or going to an aerobics class when you can barely walk around your house to take care of your family.

  4. Jon whitehead says:

    I am in a similar situation. I have had minor surgery on both knees in the past , with years of playing football , and 25 years working as an Electrician , my knee consultant said my knees were totally worn out, bone on bone and my right leg has started to bow. Knee replacement is the only option left for me. However , I am 47 years old , 5ft 7 and I weigh 270 pounds. My consultant has told me to get my BMI down to 35 or below before surgery. He has said he will definitely do the op providing I lose the weight. I am finding it difficult to lose the weight. I attend an exercise class every Friday under the ( NERS Scheme ) , National Exercise Referral Scheme , plus I use the gym 3/4 times a week. I’m limited to what I can do , I can use the cross trainer and I do a lot of resistance exercises. My legs are now very strong , all be it with extremely painful knees, plus I enjoy exercising. My blood pressure is normal , I don’t have diabetes or any heart related problems. Plus I don’t drink or smoke. All my weight is around my middle , which seems the hardest part to lose it from. I am panicking now , as I’m due to see my consultant again the end of March , if I haven’t lost any weight , I know he will delay it again. Has anyone got any advice please or tips ? By the way , I use a fit bit tracker and use the Nutratech app where I record everything I eat and drink. I’m averaging between 1500/1800 calories a day. Help please ( I live in Mold North Wales , my consultant is at Countess of Chester Hospital , Chester )

    • Dr. Sophie says:

      That’s crazy- you should be losing weight with that. If you aren’t you need to see a nutritionist to help you. Also ake a cop of this study with you when you see the consultant to argue your case. Let me know how you get on and best of luck!

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