No proof that patients lose weight after joint replacement surgery

Hip and knee replacements are now a common surgical procedure with more than 700,000 total joint arthroplasties (TJAs) performed in the US every year. Due to the reduction in pain and increases in mobility experienced after having a TJA, it could be expected that weight loss may occur as a by-product of the surgery. But is this the case? This is the question posed by Maria Inacio, a doctoral candidate from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, who is employed at Kaiser Permanente, and her colleagues at those institutions. They conducted a review of the current literature to find out. Their results appear online in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

Obesity itself is one of the major leading to the need for a hip or knee replacement. Activity can be severely restricted by in these individuals and one might presume weight loss would occur postoperatively as mobility improves with increased activity levels. Such weight loss could reduce the risk of complications such as prosthetic loosening, thus reducing the chances of requiring further surgery.

The authors conducted a review of twelve studies meeting their criteria. They considered the studies thus far in this area to be of generally low quality with small sample sizes and poor methods, leading to a risk of bias. Overall the studies reported between 14 percent to 49 percent of patients had lost weight a year after having a TJA. However, the ranges of weight loss suggested inconsistent loss and the differences in the study designs meant that overall there was no conclusive pattern. In fact, the studies showed that more patients gained weight than lost.

In a CORR Insights® commentary on the manuscript, Stuart B. Goodman, MD, PhD, of Stanford University said, " frequently tell clinicians that they are overweight because their painful hips or knees limit their physical activities and their capability to 'burn calories.' Unfortunately, after a comprehensive analysis of the data, the answer to this important question is still unknown."

Inacio and colleagues believe that since TJAs are such a common surgery, further research in this field is warranted and a large representative national study would be desirable. , either to prevent the development of osteoarthritis or to reduce long-term morbidity after a hip or is extremely desirable in this population. Current evidence is not sufficiently robust to provide an accurate picture, and clinically effective measures cannot be put into place unless the present situation is understood.

More information: 1. Inacio MCS, Kritz-Silverstein D, Paxton EW and Fithian DC (2012). Do patients lose weight after joint arthroplasty surgery? A systematic review. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. DOI 10.1007/s11999-012-2537-7
2. Goodman SB. CORR Insights: Do Patients Lose Weight After Joint Arthroplasty Surgery? A Systematic Review. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. DOI 10.1007/s11999-012-2538-6

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Weight loss + exercise helps knees

Nov 16, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Weight loss combined with exercise reduces pain and improves mobility in people with knee osteoarthritis, according to research presented by Professor of Health and Exercise Science Steve Messier earlier ...

Recommended for you

Fluorescent dyes 'light up' brain cancer cells

7 hours ago

Two new fluorescent dyes attracted to cancer cells may help neurosurgeons more accurately localize and completely resect brain tumors, suggests a study in the February issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congre ...

'Vast majority' of neurosurgeons practice defensive medicine

7 hours ago

More than three-fourths US neurosurgeons practice some form of defensive medicine—performing additional tests and procedures out of fear of malpractice lawsuits, reports a special article in the February issue of Neurosurgery, offici ...

Facelift surgery after massive weight loss poses challenges

Jan 29, 2015

Patients undergoing bariatric surgery for severe obesity are often left with excess, sagging skin affecting all areas of the body—including the face. The unique challenges of facelift surgery in this group of patients—and ...

Good results with surgery for gynecomastia in bodybuilders

Jan 28, 2015

With attention to some unique patient characteristics, breast reduction surgery achieves good aesthetic outcomes in bodybuilders with gynecomastia—enlargement of the male breast, according to a report in the February issue ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.