Studies & Whitepapers

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of undergoing knee replacement in Australia

Abstract

Background
Obesity is associated with the development of knee osteoarthritis (OA). The aim of this study was to examine the incidence of obesity in patients undergoing knee replacement (KR) for OA in Australia compared to the incidence of obesity in the general population.

Methods
A cohort study was conducted, comparing data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017–2018 National Health Survey with data from the National Joint Replacement Registry. The distribution of patients who underwent KR from July 2017 to June 2018 by BMI category was compared to the distribution of the general population, in age and gender sub-groups.

Results
During the study period, 35.6% of Australian adults were overweight and 31.3% were obese. Of the 56 217 patients who underwent primary KR for OA, 31.9% were overweight and 57.7% were obese. The relative risk of undergoing KR for OA increased with increasing BMI category. Class 1, 2 and 3 obese females aged 55–64 years were 4.7, 8.4 and 17.3 times more likely to undergo KR than their normal weight counterparts, respectively. Males in the same age and BMI categories were 3.4, 4.5 and 5.8 times more likely to undergo KR, respectively. Class 3 obese patients underwent KR 7 years younger, on average, than normal weight individuals.

Conclusion
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of undergoing KR, and at a younger age, particularly for females. There is an urgent need for a societal level approach to address the prevalence of obesity, to reduce the burden of obesity related KR.

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Wall, C.J., de Steiger, R.N., Vertullo, C.J., Stoney, J.D., Graves, S.E., Lorimer, M.F. and Kondalsamy-Chennakesavan, S. (2022), Obesity is associated with an increased risk of undergoing knee replacement in Australia. ANZ Journal of Surgery. https://doi.org/10.1111/ans.17689

Published on April 12, 2022