Knee replacement linked to weight gain: study
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Being overweight is known to increase the risk of needing a knee replacement, but a new study finds that knee replacement surgery may also raise a person's risk of gaining weight, according to a U.S. study.
Researchers, whose findings appeared in the journal
Arthritis Care & Research, analyzed the medical records of
nearly 1,000 knee-replacement surgery patients, and found that 30 percent of them gained five percent or more of their body weight in the five years following surgery.
One possible explanation for the counter-intuitive results,
experts said, is that if people have spent years adapting to knee pain by taking it easy, they don't automatically change their habits when the pain is reduced.
"Patients who undergo knee arthroplasty are at increased
risk of clinically important weight gain following surgery,"
wrote study leader Daniel Riddle, a professor at Virginia
"Future research should develop weight loss/maintenance
interventions particularly for younger patients who have lost a substantial amount of weight prior to surgery, as they are most at risk for substantial post surgical weight gain."
Riddle's group used a patient registry from the Mayo Clinic
in Rochester, Minnesota, which collected information on 917 knee replacement patients before and after their procedures.
The researchers found that five years after surgery, 30
percent of patients had gained at least five percent of their weight at the time of the surgery - at least 5 kg or more on a 100-kg person, for example.
In contrast, fewer than 20 percent of those in a comparison group of similar people who had not had surgery gained equivalent amounts of weight in the same period.
"After knee replacement we get them stronger and moving
better, but they don't seem to take advantage of the functional gains," said Joseph Zeni, a physical therapy professor at the University of Delaware, who was not part of the study.