New Joints, Same Old Weight: Weight Changes After Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty


Obesity is a well-known risk factor for postoperative complications following total joint arthroplasty. However, because the operation is often successful, orthopedic surgeons continue to operate on obese individuals, and many surgeons do so under the assumption that patients will lose weight after they are able to walk and exercise without pain. In this article, we review a recent study by Ast et al., who performed a retrospective review, using a single-center institutional registry, to determine (1) whether patients do actually lose weight after total hip and/or total knee arthroplasty, (2) whether there are predictors of postoperative weight change, and (3) whether postoperative weight changes affect patient-reported clinical outcomes. The principle conclusion was that most patients maintained their body mass index (BMI) after total hip and total knee arthroplasty (73 and 69%, respectively). However, patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty, patients who had a higher preoperative BMI, and female patients were more likely to lose weight postoperatively. When examined in the context of the current literature, this study provides valuable information for the preoperative counseling of total joint arthroplasty candidates, especially in the setting of obesity.

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Conflict of Interest

Daniel J. Hurwit, MD and Samir K. Trehan, MD have declared that they have no conflict of interest. Michael B. Cross, MD reports personal fees from Exactech, Link, Smith and Nephew and Intellijoint, outside the work.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the any of the authors.

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Correspondence to Daniel J. Hurwit MD.

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Work performed at Hospital for Special Surgery.

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Hurwit, D.J., Trehan, S.K. & Cross, M.B. New Joints, Same Old Weight: Weight Changes After Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty. HSS Jrnl 12, 193–195 (2016).

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  • total joint arthroplasty
  • weight changes
  • obesity