Bariatric surgery has been shown to help reduce knee pain in overweight or obese patients. The results found are similar to those that have had a knee replacement surgery. A small study of 20 obese patients who had weight loss surgery and 40 who had total knee replacement surgery due to arthritis showed that just one year after procedures, the patients who had bariatric surgery reported significant knee pain improvements compared to joint replacement surgery patients. The results were presented at the annual meeting of American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, the senior investigator of the study and the director of research in adult reconstruction and joint replacement at the Hospital for Special Surgery said that patients should be taught the importance of maintaining good health and a healthy weight. As doctors, we should help them in any way possible to achieve this goal.
Researchers found that weight loss patients showed much greater improvement in terms of their knee function just six months after surgery compared to their knee replacement patients. However, the difference was much small a year after procedures. The study found that weight loss patients who had knee arthritis reported less improvement in pain and function than those who didn’t have arthritis in their knees.
Also patients who lost weight after their knee-replacement surgery also had better results in terms of function, activity level and pain then those who maintained or gained weight. The research also showed that overweight or obese patients of joint replacement surgery were more likely to lose weight than normal-weight patients. Also, those who were more active were also more likely to maintain their weight or to lose weight following surgery, resulting in an increased rate of success.
Many doctors may soon begin to consider weight loss surgery for obese patients with knee problems as a result of their weight without advanced arthritis. The study is viewed as preliminary until it is published within a peer-reviewed journal. Ultimately, weight is a major component of knee discomfort or pain, so losing weight will relieve ailments on those inflicted with knee pain as a result of obesity.
According to Westrich, these findings are the first to present viable evidence that weight loss is directly associated with improved clinical outcomes of the knees and weight gain showed increased pain or dysfunction.