Obesity increases complication rates after joint surgery

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Obesity increases complication rates after joint surgery

A new study shows that any comorbidity (including obesity, hypertension and diabetes) increases the chances of complication rates for people undergoing joint replacement or repair surgery. Among the other comorbid factors, obesity specifically increases the likelihood of in-hospital post operative complications and patient transfer to a rehabilitation facility after shoulder, hip or knee surgery (arthoplasty).

The researchers investigated the impact of various health conditions on the complication rate in almost 1 million people who underwent surgery either to repair or reconstruct a shoulder, hip or knee. The final analysis revealed that the post-operative complications are most common in patients with obesity (3.7%), followed by diabetes (2.9%) and high blood pressure (2.8%). On the other hand the risk of post-operative complications without the above mentioned comorbidities was 2.6%.

These study results confirms that obesity, hypertension and diabetes are independent predictors of increased post-operative complications. So, researchers further confirmed that after accounting for the other factors obesity still conferred a 30% greater risk of complications after surgery. Due to this the need for additional treatment after discharge from the hospital was significantly more common in patients with obesity. It was also observed that a combination of comorbidities had a higher likelihood of postoperative complications and non home bound discharge. Although the differences in the complication rates between people with and without these health conditions seems relatively small, the absolute impact on the patient population undergoing joint surgery is clinically very relevant. That’s why the risks/benefits of the surgical procedures for people with these conditions should be decided on an individual basis by the surgeon and the patient.

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