Monday, July 28, 2008

No Justification For Denying Obese Patients Knee Replacements

“There is no justification for denying obese patients knee replacement surgery: They benefit almost as much as anyone else from the procedure, concludes a small study published ahead of print in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Around 55,000 knee replacements are performed every year in England to relieve the pain and disability of knee osteoarthritis. But in some parts of the country the surgery is offered only to patients who are not clinically obese (body mass index (BMI) below 30 kg/m2), on the grounds that obesity is itself a risk factor for knee osteoarthritis. ‘The long term improvement in physical function that we observed in patients who have undergone TKA [knee replacement surgery] is striking when set against the decline that occurred in [the comparison group],’ say the authors. ‘These benefits extend to patients [who are obese] and, provided appropriate selection criteria are applied with regard to fitness for surgery, there seems no justification for withholding [knee replacement surgery] from patients who are obese,’ they conclude.”

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