Obesity is a growing crisis across the United States, with nearly half of the adult population projected to have obesity by 2030. Particular to orthopedics, there is substantial evidence that a high BMI can cause or exacerbate musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions such as osteoarthritis, increasing the risk of undergoing surgery as well as complications following it.
To illustrate, each additional kilogram (kg) of body mass increases the compressive load on the knee by 4 kg, meaning that a loss of even just 10 pounds can reduce the pressure on the knees by 50 pounds, significantly reducing the risk of injury.
In surgery, extra weight is associated with complications such as infection and poor wound healing. By reducing weight, patients can improve their odds of successfully recovering post-operation.
Due to the risk of MSK issues and surgery complications as a result of obesity, orthopedic surgeons should work with their patients to develop a strategy for weight loss, especially prior to surgery.