Bariatric surgery can improve post-knee replacement outcomes — 4 things to know


A new, computer model-based evaluation supports bariatric surgery in morbidly obese patients with end-stage osteoarthritis prior to total knee replacement, according to an article published in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Researchers used a computer model to analyze previously published data on obesity, bariatric surgery and TKR. The evaluation compared the costs and outcomes of two treatment options for patients with morbid obesity and end-stage knee osteoarthritis:


  • TKR without prior weight loss
  • TKR two years after bariatric surgery


Here are four things to know:


1. The model predicts that patients with morbid obesity who undergo bariatric surgery two years prior to TKR are more likely to enjoy improved quality-of-life, measured in quality-adjusted life years, than patients undergoing TKR without prior weight loss surgery.


2. The cost necessary for this level of improvement was $13,910 per QALY, which is below the amount society and healthcare payers, like insurers and the government, are typically willing to pay.


3. Alexander McLawhorn, MD, orthopedic surgeon and lead article author, said while there remains some uncertainty in terms of the precise effects of bariatric surgery on knee osteoarthritis and TKR, the model summarizes what is known about the clinical effects and costs of obesity, bariatric surgery and TKR.


4. Approximately 30 percent of Americans are obese, and obesity is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis.


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