New research funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research has found that fewer knee replacement procedures are being carried out in England due to strict guidelines. Many surgeons are refusing to carry out the procedure until patients lose weight.
Those who do not lose weight are being refused a knee replacement in some cases, leaving them in pain and suffering with mobility issues.
So, why are patients advised to lose weight before knee surgery? And can patients get help with weight loss to progress with their knee surgery?
Achieving a healthy BMI before knee surgery
Most health professionals use the Body Mass Index (BMI) formula to work out whether your weight is within a healthy range. BMI is your weight divided by your height squared (multiplied by itself). Having a raised BMI increases the risk of having a complication from any surgery. Risks of surgery with a raised BMI include medical problems including DVT, wound infection, heart problems, respiratory problems, nerve injury and even death. The usual requirement is a BMI of 40 or less.
Patients over 40 BMI are given a target before they can proceed with their surgery. They can engage with weight loss services either through their GP or other sources. Occasionally, patients can be referred for bariatric surgery.
Losing 20lbs can help your recovery
A study carried out in 2019, revealed that patients who lose 20lbs are likely to have shorter stays in hospital, and be discharged home rather than to a rehab facility. Interestingly, these results occurred even if the patient was still classed as morbidly obese.
Recovering at home can improve your surgery results, as there is less likelihood of post-surgical infection. Additionally, there are advantages of home comforts such as a better night’s sleep in your own bed. However, weight loss can be extremely challenging, particularly for those who are morbidly obese.
The dangers of losing weight too quickly
While losing weight does reduce the risk of surgery, patients face new risks if they lose it too quickly. Some of the main issues that can arise from losing weight too quickly include:
- You may lack important nutrients
- Headaches and muscle pain
- A reduced metabolism
- A loss of muscle mass
When patients are told that they need to lose weight in order to have a procedure, it can cause them problems trying to lose weight too quickly. Unfortunately, they don’t often realise the dangers of doing so, and in some cases, it could delay the knee replacement even further.
Seek advice to prepare for knee surgery
According to research, losing just 20 pounds is a good goal before knee surgery. However, if you have a BMI over 40, your surgeon can refer you to weight loss services. This will help you to lose the weight required to progress with treatment. This greatly reduces the risks, even if you are classed as morbidly obese.
If you are in need of knee surgery, book a consultation with Mr Shah Punwar today. If you are concerned about your weight, he will be able to advise you on how to prepare for knee surgery, so that you benefit from the best results after the procedure.