Why Should I Lose Weight Before Knee Replacement Surgery?

Weight loss is a sensitive subject. Many patients struggle when they are asked to lose weight in order to have an orthopaedic surgery. For some patients, the very reason they are having surgery in the first place is because their excess weight contributed to how quickly their joints wore out. However, the science is perfectly clear. Patients do much better if they are closer to a normal weight, both from pure surgical standpoint (anesthesia, implant complications) and it just being a heck of a lot easier to recover.

Obesity is a chronic disease that I happen to have experienced myself. Many want to treat weight loss as simply “eat less, work out more.”  It’s not that simple for many of us.  There can be many barriers to the long-term success of obesity. These barriers can be physical, emotional, financial and social.

Fortunately, OrthoNebraska realizes that weight loss is a unique journey, and partners with Midwest Regional Health Services, my primary care practice, to offer a weight optimization program that can be customized to your needs. If you choose to enroll in the program – which is a series of visits covered by most insurance plans – we will develop a plan tailored based on your goals, needs, medical history and more. We are familiar with many of the medications, supplements and weight loss programs offered in the community. Each has its pros and cons. We can also help connect you with appropriate health coaching, nutritionists and dieticians.

There are many short term-solutions. At OrthoNebraska, most patients are asked to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) under 40, and most can put their nose to the grindstone and hit that number. But if you revert to old habits and put on weight after your surgery, you really aren’t going to benefit as much from surgery as you could. Most patients want to be more active, and for that goal, surgery and weight go hand-in-hand.

If you have questions or would like to visit us and get started, please feel free to call (402) 778-5490.

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