A study from the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) shows that following joint replacement, losing or gaining weight may affect long-term outcomes for patients. An HSS study determined that although a number of patients who are overweight are able to lose weight following the procedure, equal numbers of patients actually gain weight after hip or knee replacement. The research team determined that patients who lose weight do better in terms of activity level and function 2 years down the road.

A total of 7,000 patients enrolled in the joint replacement registry at HSS. The research team found that while some patients lost or gained weight after joint replacement, the majority of patients maintained the same body mass index (BMI) that they had prior to surgery. Researchers examined the 2-year change in BMI for all patients undergoing elective hip or knee replacement surgery to relieve osteoarthritis.

A total of 3,036 knee and 3,893 hip replacement surgeries were reviewed, and the findings of the study showed that patients who underwent knee replacement were more likely to lose weight after surgery than those undergoing hip replacement. Patients who were obese prior to joint replacement were more likely to lose weight than those of normal weight or overweight individuals. In addition, 74% of total knee replacement patients and 84% of total hip replacement patients did not show a change in BMI after surgery.

The results of the study also revealed that overweight or obese females undergoing joint replacement were more likely to lose weight than their male or normal weight counterparts, and patients with higher preoperative activity scores were more likely to maintain their weight than to gain or lose weight.

Geoffrey Westrich, MD, states, “Our findings represent the first report to present evidence that weight loss is associated with improved clinical outcomes, while weight gain is associated with inferior outcomes.” Westrich adds, “Based on our findings, as physicians, we should convey to our patients the importance of maintaining good health and an appropriate weight, and we should help them in any way we can to achieve this goal.”

[Source: Hospital for Special Surgery]