A recent study published online in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage indicates that patients who have had total knee replacement surgery are more likely to gain weight after the surgery. Those patients typically drop weight in the first few weeks after surgery, but then average a 14 pound gain in weight within two years following the joint replacement surgery.
The study by Joseph Zeni and Lynn Snyder-Mackler of the University of Delaware involved 106 people who had total knee replacement surgery. Measurements were taken of height, weight, quadriceps strength, and functional ability and then compared to 31 age matched controls who did not have knee surgery.
The results showed that 66% of the surgery group gained an average of 14 pounds over two years following surgery, and the body mass index (BMI) of the surgery group patients showed a significant increase when compared to the control group. Also patients who had weaker quadriceps prior to surgery ended up gaining more weight after surgery.
Total knee replacement surgery is used to help decrease knee pain and improve function in people with severe osteoarthritis. This study indicates that people with severe arthritis may be dealing with lifestyle issues that may be difficult to change, even after joint replacement surgery.
If you have knee arthritis and are contemplating a total knee replacement surgery, you should work closely with your physical therapist to improve your knee range of motion and strength and to engage in a fitness program to help you maintain a healthy weight after surgery.