The most frequent causes of revision surgery, according to lead researcher and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chris Wall of UQRCS, were infection, implant loosening, instability, and pain.
“We found that obese patients had a higher rate of revision surgery overall, and a higher rate of revision for infection specifically, when compared to non-obese patients,” Dr Wall said. “Morbidly obese patients also had a higher rate of revision for implant loosening.”
Obesity and Knee Replacement Surgery
Obesity, which is a known risk factor for developing knee osteoarthritis and necessitating knee replacement surgery, affects 31% of Australian adults.
Associate Professor Srinivas Kondalsamy-Chennakesavan, head of research at UQRCS, noted that a prior study by the research team revealed that 58% of patients in Australia who underwent a knee replacement were obese.
“Our previous work showed that the risk of undergoing a knee replacement for osteoarthritis is clearly related to a person’s body mass index,” Dr Kondalsamy-Chennakesavan said. “This study found that obese patients undergoing knee replacement have a higher risk of revision surgery than non-obese patients.”
The results, according to Dr. Wall, were alarming since they hinted at an increase in demand for revision knee replacement surgery.
“This carries a significant psychosocial cost to patients and a large economic cost to the healthcare system,” Dr. Wall said. “A population-level approach to address the increasing prevalence of obesity is urgently needed to reduce the burden of obesity-related knee osteoarthritis, primary knee replacement and revision knee replacement.”