No Weight Loss After Joint Replacement

Total joint arthroplasty not associated with weight loss after surgery

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Hip and knee replacements can help arthritis patients get back on their feet and moving. With less pain and added mobility after surgery, one might expect patients to exercise more and shed pounds.

Patients do not appear to lose weight or gain weight after joint replacement surgery.

"Lose weight to ease pressure on your joints."

Obesity can put a large amount of stress on your joints. In fact, obesity is one of the main reasons many people have arthritis and need a hip or knee replacement - also known as total joint arthroplasty.

Maria Inacio, a doctoral candidate from San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, and an employee at Kaiser Permanente, and colleagues wanted to see if the benefits of joint replacement surgery would lead patients to lose weight.

In other words, with reduced pain and increased mobility, do patients become more active and lose weight after joint replacement surgery?

Inacio and colleagues looked at 12 previous studies to address this question.

"We found no conclusive evidence that weight or body composition increases, decreases, or remains the same after total joint arthroplasty," they said.

The studies showed that 14 percent to 49 percent of patients lost some weight after surgery. This wide range of weight loss suggests that there may be no pattern of weight loss after joint replacement surgery.

According to the authors, the studies were of low quality, with small numbers of participants and poor methods.

Weight loss is important for joint replacement patients because it can both prevent osteoarthritis and lower the risk of complications after hip or knee replacement.

Patients who are obese often tell doctors that they are overweight because their painful joints limit their ability to exercise and burn calories, said Stuart B. Goodman, MD, PhD, of Stanford University, in a commentary on the current study.

After looking at the current evidence, it is still unclear why patients may not be losing weight, even after joint replacement lowers pain and boosts mobility.

Inacio and her fellow researchers reported no conflicts of interest in this research.

The study was published September 7 in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 9, 2012
Last Updated:
September 12, 2012