Knee, Hip Replacements Don't Help People Lose Weight: Study

THURSDAY Sept. 13, 2012 -- Although joint replacement surgery can ease pain and help people regain their mobility, no proof exists that this surgical procedure will help them lose weight, according to a new study.

Researcher Maria Inacio, of Kaiser Permanente and a doctoral candidate at San Diego State University, and colleagues examined 12 previous studies to determine the effect joint replacement surgery had on patients' weight.

The study was published online recently in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

The analysis found that 14 percent to 49 percent of patients lost weight one year after joint replacement surgery, according to a journal news release. However, the weight loss was inconsistent. Moreover, the included studies were small and of generally poor quality, the researchers found. Differences in study designs meant that conclusive weight-loss patterns could not be determined. Instead, the analysis revealed that more patients gained weight than lost it, the researchers said.

"Obese patients frequently tell clinicians that they are overweight because their painful hips or knees limit their physical activities and their capability to 'burn calories.' Unfortunately, after a comprehensive analysis of the data, the answer to this important question is still unknown," Dr. Stuart Goodman, of Stanford University, wrote in an accompanying journal commentary.

The study authors said more research is needed to understand how joint replacement affects people's weight so effective steps can be taken to help patients lose weight and reduce their risk of osteoarthritis and other long-term health issues.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about joint replacement.

Posted: September 2012


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