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Obesity Increases Risk Of Complications For Knee Replacement Patients

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People suffering from obesity tend to be in need of knee joint replacement twice as often as individuals with normal weight, according to study findings presented at the 15th congress of the European Federation of National Association of Orthopedics and Traumatology (EFORT). Participants in the London event also heard that obese patients were twice as likely to suffer complications after their knee surgery.

One of the studies presented was carried out by Scottish researchers from Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. They found that people who require first knee replacements nowadays are usually heavier than prosthetics candidates years ago. The study examined two groups of individuals who had primary knee arthroplasty. The first group did so between 1994 and 1998, while the second group underwent surgery between 2009 and 2012. The second group had a much higher average body mass index (BMI) compared to the first group – 32 versus 29.4.

Another set of results came from a study conducted in Northern Ireland. This research team established that excess weight was linked to increased need for knee joint replacement. Obese men were found to be twice as likely to need an artificial knee at some point in their life. The same risk was 2.4 times higher for females, according to the researchers from Belfast-based Musgrave Park Hospital. The findings suggest that fighting obesity should become a priority for health programmes in order to lower the demand for arthroplasty.

Dealing with knee prostheses in overweight individuals should involve patient-specific approaches, experts said. Orthopaedic surgeons need to adjust the size of components, axis position and rotation for each patient. These specifications will help increase treatment precision and can also reduce surgical time and blood loss during interventions.