Weight Loss Before Knee Surgery May Boost Mobility, But Doesn't Lower Complications

A Duke University School of Medicine study suggests that losing weight before knee replacement improves mobility three months after surgery, but it doesn’t appear to affect the risk of infection or other complications. 

Despite common advice for patients to slim down before such surgeries to improve surgery results, the study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Arthroplasty, offers a more nuanced perspective of the impact of preoperative weight loss.  

The study based on 90 total knee arthroplasty patients showed no significant difference in rates of revision surgeries, prosthetic joint infections, emergency department visits, or hospital readmissions between those who lost weight during a medically supervised weight loss program and those who didn’t lose weight. 

Study team includes senior study author Maggie Horn, PhD, MPH, a physical therapist and researcher who is an assistant professor in the Duke Department of Orthopaedics. Authors of the Duke study also included obesity researcher William S. Yancy, Jr. MD, professor in the Department of Medicine, and orthopedic surgeons Michael Bolognesi, MDSean P. Ryan, MD, and William A. Jiranek, MD  

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