Association Between Nonsurgical Weight Loss From Body Mass Index >40 to Body Mass Index <40 and Complications and Readmissions Following Total Hip Arthroplasty

J Arthroplasty. 2022 Mar;37(3):518-523. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2021.11.024. Epub 2021 Nov 19.


Background: Elevated body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for adverse outcomes following total hip arthroplasty (THA). It is unknown if preoperative weight loss to a BMI <40 kg/m2 is associated with reduced risk of adverse outcomes.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed elective, primary THA performed at an academic center from 2015 to 2019. Patients were split into groups based on their BMI trajectory prior to THA: BMI consistently <40 ("BMI <40"); BMI >40 at the time of surgery ("BMI >40"); and BMI >40 within 2 years preoperatively, but <40 at the time of surgery ("Weight Loss"). Length of stay (LOS), 30-day readmissions, and complications as defined by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were compared between groups using parsimonious regression models and Fisher's exact testing. Adjusted analyses controlled for sex, age, and American Society of Anesthesiologists class.

Results: In total, 1589 patients were included (BMI <40: 1387, BMI >40: 96, Weight Loss: 106). The rate of complications in each group was 3.5%, 6.3%, and 8.5% and the rate of 30-day readmissions was 3.0%, 4.2%, and 7.5%, respectively. Compared to the BMI <40 group, the weight loss group had a significantly higher risk of 30-day readmission (odds ratio [OR] 2.70, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19-6.17, P = .02), higher risk of any complication (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.09-5.59, P = .03), higher risk of mechanical complications (OR 3.07, 95% CI 1.14-8.25, P = .03), and longer median LOS (16% increase, P = .002). The BMI >40 group had increased median LOS (10% increase, P = .03), but no difference in readmission or complications (P > .05) compared to BMI <40.

Conclusion: Weight loss from BMI >40 to BMI <40 prior to THA was associated with increased risk of readmission and complications compared to BMI <40, whereas BMI >40 was not.

Level of evidence: Level III - Retrospective Cohort Study.

Keywords: BMI; complication; readmission; total hip arthroplasty; weight loss.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip* / adverse effects
  • Body Mass Index
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Medicare
  • Patient Readmission
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weight Loss