Obesity may impair the early outcome of total knee arthroplasty

Scand J Surg. 2010;99(1):45-9. doi: 10.1177/145749691009900110.


Background and aims: Obesity has been linked to the development of osteoarthritis of the knee and increases the probability to fall into total knee arthroplasty. In this study we compared short-term outcome of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in non-obese and obese patients.

Material and methods: A total of 100 patients underwent TKA between October 2006 and March 2007. They were divided into two groups based on the body mass index: 52 of the patients were obese (BMI = 30 kg/m2) and 48 non-obese (BMI < 30 kg/m2). The short-term out-come was studied using clinical, functional and radiological analysis. The mean of the follow-up period was 3 months.

Results: There were five complications (2 wound infections, phlebitis, nerve injury and massive edema) in obese patients group compared with no complications in non-obese (p = 0.028). The obese patients had also worse postoperative range of motion (110 degrees vs.118 degrees , p = 0.001) than non-obese and the number of technical errors was 17 in obese and 5 in non-obese group, respectively (p = 0.007).

Conclusions: We suggest that obesity may impair the early outcome of total knee arthroplasty and obese patients should be informed about the increased risk of complications related to TKA. Key words: Total knee arthroplasty; body mass index; obesity; complications; range of motion; mechanical axis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / complications
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome