The Particulars: Elevated BMI has been linked to symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) in previous studies. Data are lacking on the impact of weight loss following gastric bypass surgery (GBS) on knee pain and function.
Data Breakdown: For a study, knee symptoms were compared among patients who underwent GBS with those who underwent total knee replacement for symptomatic OA. Data were collected preoperatively and at 6 and 12 months after surgery. The percentage improvement in average knee pain scores was similar between the two groups at 6 and 12 months follow-up. However, the GBS group had a significantly greater percentage improvement in physical function at 6 months (66.3% vs 46.7%) and a similar (though marginally non-significant) difference at 12 months (68.4% vs 51.5%).
Take Home Pearls: When compared with total knee replacement, GBS appears to offer comparable knee pain reduction and improved mobility in obese patients. Bariatric consultation should be considered for obese patients with knee symptoms but without advanced OA or other conditions that are amenable to orthopedic management.