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Losing or Gaining Weight after Total Joint Replacement Affects Patients’ Pain, Function and Activity Years Later

Gaining or Losing weight after total joint replacement surgery affects how patients do years after having the surgery to replace worn hip or knee joints. Those who lose weight have better function and activity levels two years after surgery than those who gain weight, according to a recent study at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Researchers studied nearly 7,000 patients enrolled in the joint replacement registry at Hospital for Special Surgery. They looked how patients did and changes in patients’ body mass indices (BMI) in the two years after having elective hip or knee replacement surgery to treat osteoarthritis.

After reviewing more than 3,000 knee joint replacement surgeries and nearly 3,900 hip joint replacement procedures, they found:

• Most patients’ BMI did not change in the years following surgery.

• Those who did lose weight were more likely to be people undergoing knee replacement than hip replacement.

• People who were obese prior to joint replacement surgery were more likely to lose weight than those who were of normal weight or overweight, but not obese.

• People who reported being more active before total joint replacement were more likely to maintain weight than to gain or lose it.

When they studied people’s results from their surgeries two years later, the researchers factored in patients’ reported pain, functioning and activity. They found knee replacement patients who lost weight following surgery had notably better results than those who maintained or gained weight after surgery. And patients who gained weight after either total hip or total knee replacement surgery reported more pain and lower function and activity than the others.

Physical therapists work with patients before and after total joint replacement surgery. Physical therapy before the surgery has been shown to improve results of total joint replacement. And physical therapy after procedures to replace joints worn by osteoarthritis helps patients regain strength, function and quality of life. Physical therapists are the exercise experts, who help people of all fitness levels and ages maintain independence, cardiovascular fitness, function, strength, balance, posture and flexibility at any age. For more information about what a physical therapist can do for you, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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