Weight Loss Intervention Before Total Knee Replacement: A 12-Month Randomized Controlled Trial

A Liljensøe, J O Laursen, H Bliddal, K Søballe, I Mechlenburg


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Obesity is an increasing problem in patients after total knee replacement. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a weight loss intervention before primary total knee replacement would improve quality of life, knee function, mobility, and body composition 1 year after surgery.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patients scheduled for total knee replacement due to osteoarthritis of the knee and obesity were randomized to a control group receiving standard care or to an intervention group receiving 8-week low-energy diet before total knee replacement. Patient-reported quality of life, 6-Min Walk Test, and body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry were assessed before intervention for the diet group, and within 1 week preoperatively for both groups, and the changes in outcome from baseline to 1 year after total knee replacement were compared between groups. The number of participants was lower than planned, which might introduce a type-2 error and underestimate the trend for a better outcome after weight loss.

RESULTS: The analyses are based on a total of 76 patients, 38 in each group. This study showed major improvement in both study groups in quality of life and knee function, though no statistically significant differences between the groups were observed 1 year after total knee replacement. The average weight loss after 8-week preoperative intervention was 10.7 kg and consisted of a 6.7 kg reduction in fat mass. One year after total knee replacement, the participants in the diet group managed to maintain the weight reduction, whereas there was no change in the control group.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that it is feasible and safe to implement an intensive weight loss program shortly before total knee replacement. The preoperative intervention resulted in a 10% body weight loss, improved body composition, lower cardiovascular risk factors, and sustained s-leptin.


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