Obesity is one of the main risk factors for needing knee replacement surgery down the road, and that makes sense because more stress is channeled through your knees with every step you take if you’re overweight. This added stress serves to break the joint down faster, but obesity isn’t just a risk factor for knee replacement surgery, it’s also a problem during and after the operation. In today’s blog, we explain why it’s so important to try to get to a healthy weight prior to knee replacement surgery.
Knee Replacement and Obesity
Here’s a look at some of the reasons extra weight can be a problem before, during and after a knee replacement procedure.
- Obesity Before Knee Replacement Surgery – We touched on this a little bit in the intro, but being overweight prior to your knee replacement operation can make it more likely that you’ll need to have you joint replaced. Extra weight puts added stress on the joint with each step you take. Being obese not only stresses the knee joint, but it can also strain the supporting ligaments and muscles around the knee, and you’ll want these structures as healthy as possible in the event they need to support an artificial knee.
- Obesity During Your Knee Replacement Surgery – Several studies have found a link between obesity and elevated risk factors during knee replacement surgery. There has been an association between obesity and an increased risk of wound complications, infections, the need for a revision operation, extended recovery time, elevated total medical costs and surgery failure. Even if you can’t get down to an ideal weight, losing just a few pounds can help to reduce complication risk during knee replacement surgery.
- Obesity After Your Knee Replacement Surgery – Being overweight is also likely to impact you after your replacement surgery. Even if you avoid complications during surgery, there’s a good chance your recovery may take a little longer because of your weight. You may not be able to bear weight or progress through your rehab as quickly because doing so could overstress the recovering joint. Trying to do too much, too quickly can lead to shifting hardware or the need for a revisional operation if you’re overweight, so it’s even more imperative that you follow your surgeon’s and physical therapist’s post-op care plan. Again, even losing a few pounds before surgery means that there’s a lot less stress channeled through the new joint and the recovering tissues in the body, so try to work towards a healthy weight as your surgery date approaches.
Knee Replacement Surgery
With all that said, many of our patients are above an ideal weight at the time of surgery, and we want you to know that we do everything in our power to reduce complication risk and help you have the most successful operation and recovery as possible. We’re with you every step of the way to ensure you know the expectations and make the right moves on your path to recovery. So no matter your size, if you’ve been told you may be a candidate for knee replacement surgery, consider reaching out to Dr. Botero to learn more about your options. Contact his office today for more information.