Monday, January 30, 2017

Knee Replacement Surgeries Should Not Be Precluded By Obesity

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At least that's what the results of this new study would suggest.

The study looked at knee replacement outcomes, after 5 years of follow up, among 689 patients who were divided into those whose BMIs were <30, 30-35, or >35.

The findings were important and easy to describe.

While absolute outcomes were better among those with lower BMIs, the degree of improvement in quality of life and knee functionality was not different between groups.

That finding led the authors to plainly conclude,
"surgery should not be denied to patients that are obese, given that they obtained similar benefit than non-obese patients."
Over the years I've seen many patients in my office who were there because they were denied the opportunity to have a knee replacement until such time that they lost a particular amount of weight.

I've also seen patients who were told they would be denied fertility treatments, and even renal transplants, unless they lost weight.

While it is certainly the responsibility of physicians to protect their patients' safety, I welcome studies like this one, which question policies that on their surface may seem thoughtful, but when examined more carefully, may simply reflect weight bias, however well intentioned.