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Study: Bariatric Surgery Lowers Cost, Improves Outcomes of Joint Replacement

April 23, 2015 | Uncategorized

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 million knee and hip replacements are performed in the United States annually. Dr. Emily Dodwell, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, N.Y., says that at some institutions, as many as half of hip and knee replacement patients are obese. Excess weight puts a tremendous strain on the joints. Not only does obesity raise the risk of joint problems, it is also linked to longer hospital stays, higher overall costs and higher failure rates of joint replacement surgery.

Dr. Dodwell and a team from HSS recently looked at whether bariatric surgery and related weight loss prior to joint replacement had any bearing on the outcomes of the replacement procedure. The results of their study were presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

As an advocate of surgical weight loss solutions, Texas Laparoscopic Consultants was pleased with the study’s findings. Out team believes it is valuable news for our patients that struggle with joint problems.

What the Study Found

The team from HSS studied a group of overweight patients that needed either hip or knee replacement. The patients had a BMI of 40+, or 35+ with at least one co-morbidity.

The patients were divided into two groups. One group had weight loss surgery and, two years later, hip or knee replacement (note that patients generally lose most of their excess weight within a two-year period). The other group had hip or knee replacement immediately, without losing any weight.

The research team used a computer software program to compare the cost-utility of the two treatment protocols.

According to Dr. Dodwell, the study’s outcomes indicate that weight loss surgery prior to joint replacement is “likely a cost-effective option” to improve outcomes in obese patients that need joint replacement.

A growing body of research shows that weight loss surgery reduces the risk of life-threatening diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer. This study is another example of the ways weight loss surgery is helpful for non-life-threatening health conditions (such as joint problems).

However, study co-author Dr. Alexander McLawhorn was careful to note that for some patients with advanced knee or hip pain, it is not sensible to postpone joint replacement for weight loss surgery.

Explore Your Surgical Weight Loss Options

Do your joints feel sore all the time? Do your hips and knees ache after only a short time on your feet? If eventual joint replacement surgery is likely in your future, weight loss surgery could improve your outcomes — and improve your quality of life.

To find out more about weight loss surgery and your options, please contact TLC Surgery.

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