Cost Effectiveness of Weight Loss Surgery Prior to Total Knee Replacement In Morbidly Obese Patients

Weight Loss Surgery Knee ReplacementWith changes in healthcare, one new policy will be in effect in upcoming years that affects doctors and patients alike. A new policy will rate physicians based on their patient’s post surgery complications. This means that doctors will be treating patients’ current issues, and other contributing factors to receive a positive outcome. 

We know from the literature and studies that one common reason for post-surgical complications is the patients’ weight or BMI. The higher the BMI and the more obesity is present, the higher the risk of complications.

With patients undergoing joint replacement surgery it has been found that patients that had BMIs greater than 40 are at higher risk for complications than patients with a BMI <40. Because of this, surgeons will be recommending weight loss surgery prior to knee replacement.

Study Results

A study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, December 2016 issue took computer model based evaluations and determined it is cost effective for patients that are morbidly obese to undergo bariatric surgery prior to knee replacement. The complications that occur secondary to the patient’s morbid obesity in a dollar value are more than the cost of the patient undergoing bariatric surgery.

Post-surgical complications reduce significantly when patient’s BMIs are less than 40. Therefore, in the future, your orthopedic surgeon may be recommending bariatric or weight loss surgery prior to knee replacement surgery.