Bariatric surgery benefits patients with knee osteoarthritis


The benefits of bariatric surgery regarding weight loss, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and sleep apnea are well-known.  Improvement in knee pain for patients with osteoarthritis has also been established, but the mechanism generally accepted is that pain relief occurs by reducing the mechanical load on the joints.  

A recent presentation to the World Congress on Osteoarthritis, however, demonstrated that the majority of pain relief occurred in the first month after surgery.  This is encouraging for patients suffering from osteoarthritis for 2 reasons: pain relief is not completely dependent on weight loss, and pain relief can occur early after weight loss surgery.

The study followed 150 patients with knee osteoarthritis for 2 years after bariatric surgery.  Symptoms improved in patients following the Lap-band, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric bypass, although patients with the sleeve and bypass had the greatest reduction in weight and knee pain.  "Post-bariatric surgery changes in inflammatory biomarkers, especially leptin, may help to explain the symptomatic relief of knee pain," stated NYU rheumatologist, Dr. Jonathan Samuels.

At South Texas Surgeons, we routinely evaluate patients who are referred for their osteoarthritis.  Patients may either pursue bariatric surgery in hope of avoiding a joint replacement, or their orthopedic surgeon may request a substantial amount of weight loss prior to their knee surgery to optimize results, limit complications, and optimize rehabilitation.  

Call 210-220-1726 to make an appointment with Dr. Keith Wright or Dr. Gerardo Carcamo to see if weight loss surgery is right for you.


Keith Wright