Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery announces the launch of a study to see if weight loss surgery before knee replacement improves outcomes or even eliminates the need for the procedure altogether in severely overweight patients.

The goal of the study, called SWIFT (Surgical Weight-Loss to Improve Functional Status Trajectories Following Total Knee Arthroplasty), is to compare outcomes in individuals who have bariatric surgery versus those who do not have weight loss surgery before joint replacement. Researchers also aim to determine if losing a significant amount of weight could enable patients to hold off on knee replacement or postpone it indefinitely

“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,” says Alexander McLawhorn, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and lead investigator at HSS, in a media release.

In the study, researchers will divide enrolled patients into two groups. One group will undergo bariatric surgery prior to knee replacement, and the other group will have knee replacement only. Patients who choose to have weight loss surgery will have the procedure at New York Presbyterian Hospital. All knee replacement surgeries will take place at HSS.

Approximately 9 to 13 months after bariatric surgery, participants in the first group will be evaluated to determine if they still wish to go ahead with knee replacement; if they feel the surgery can be delayed; or if they believe they no longer need it. Those who choose to have a knee replacement will complete nine research visits over the course of 3.5 to 4 years, in addition to the standard of care visits required for bariatric surgery and knee replacement, the release explains.

Research visits will include the completion of questionnaires 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.

Participants in the control group will undergo a total knee replacement without weight loss surgery and will complete six research visits over the course of 2.5 to 3 years, in addition to the standard of care visits required for knee replacement surgery. The research visits for this group will include the same evaluation activities as those in the bariatric surgery group.

The study is open to individuals with knee osteoarthritis up to age 75 with a body mass index ? 40 or a BMI >35 with a qualifying co-existing condition such as obstructive sleep apnea or diabetes, the release continues.

For more information about the study, email Ethan Krell.

[Source(s): Hospital for Special Surgery, Newswise]