There is a persistent link between joint and knee pain and obesity. It is not unusual since the heavier someone is, the more pressure that is placed on the joints of the body. To help with joint pain, whether or not it is related to obesity, doctors often suggest joint replacement surgery. While it seems extreme, it is necessary in many cases when the joints have caused severe arthritis or other conditions that cannot be repaired without surgery. Some patients get this surgery, then decide to lose weight with weight loss surgery, to improve the success of the joint replacement surgery and keep their brand new joints in working condition without being impaired by their obesity.
Joint Replacement Surgery
Joint replacement surgery is a type of surgical procedure that removes an old joint and places in a new, synthetic one. It is most often done for joints that are damaged and causing pain, such as the hip, shoulder or knee. The hip and knee joints are particularly at risk when you are overweight because of the additional pressure being placed on them while walking, standing and getting in and out of chairs or beds. The joint, which is where multiple bones come together, can become damaged and weakened over time, making it challenging and painful to walk. With joint replacement surgery, the pain is relieved, and you suddenly have better mobility. Hips and knees are replaced most often, though even minor joints like the elbows, ankles, and fingers get joint replacement surgery.
Link Between Obesity and Joint Pain
The joints of the body carry the bulk of the weight of your body. This is why there is such a significant link between obesity and joint pain of the knees and hips. Obese individuals are causing the joints to carry more and work harder to work, which causes them to wear out faster and become damaged. Small amounts of weight can affect how well the joints work. Just holding weights of 10-15 lbs. A day during normal activities changes how the joints feel and function. This also means weight loss is an excellent way to relieve stress on the joints. Arthritis, a common condition of the joints, is also linked to obesity, this is why many people with arthritis opt for weight loss surgery to help with their arthritis and joint pain.
Benefits of Weight Loss After Joint Replacement Surgery
According to a study performed by researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, weight loss after joint replacement surgery is incredibly beneficial for the patient. Once they have their new joint, they still need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, lose as much weight as they can to reduce pressure on their new hip or knee and get regular exercise. This helps with the function and mobility of the new join and can also help lessen the pain of their joints. The study had some patients that gained weight after the procedure, and they had a harder time recovering from surgery with poorer outcomes, often leading to more pain and lack of movement. Excessive amounts of weight gained after joint replacement surgery resulted in some patients being able to move even less than before they had their surgery.
The study looked at approximately 7,000 patients that had knee or hip replacements and monitored their body mass index (BMI) over the course of two years. They found that there was not a significant change in BMI of patients with a new hip, but about 74 percent of the patients who got a knee replacement had lost weight. It was more likely that someone obese before surgery had lost weight than those who were not.
Weight Loss Surgery for Weight Loss
The next choice to make after you decide to get joint replacement surgery for your knee or hip pain is to determine the method of losing weight. While regular diet and exercise is an option, you may be getting the surgery because this has not worked for you in the past. In this case, more rapid weight loss with a higher success rate might be better, such as with weight loss surgery like gastric bypass surgery. Another study looked at how many patients gain weight after surgery, therefore needing weight loss surgery to improve further their chances, which was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).
With weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, there are options to choose from. Gastric bypass is now, the second most common type of weight loss surgery, though there are other procedures, including lap band surgery. All kinds of weight loss surgery help you lose a rapid amount of weight in multiple ways. The first way is by reducing the size of pocket or pouch where food is stored, so it lowers how much food you eat, keeps you full between meals, and helps you stay fuller for longer. Another way this type of surgery helps you to lose weight after joint replacement surgery is by changing your hormone levels, which helps you to get more energy and a greater degree of metabolism for burning more calories.
Aside from surgery, also be sure to keep up with eating healthy and exercising regularly. You will want to take it easy right after your joint replacement surgery and ask how long it will be before you can start exercising. Start slow and work with a physical therapist immediately after the joint surgery. Once you are ready for more exercise, gradually add in low-intensity cardio, preferably starting with walking as it helps burn calories and is gentle on your body. You can also add in weights and other activities when you feel ready to do so.
Once you are ready for both of these surgeries, work closely with your doctor and surgeons and discuss the fact that you want to get both surgeries. You will need to wait the appropriate amount of time before getting weight loss surgery, allowing your body to heal properly.