Obesity Weighs Down Results of ArthroscopyWomen are more likely to have osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee than men. Overweight women have worse results after knee surgery than women of normal weight. These are the results of a study comparing women between the ages of 30 and 55 who had arthroscopic surgery on the knee.The operation was done to repair or remove torn cartilage and smooth the joint surfaces. The authors say this is the first study to show a link between body weight and results of arthroscopic surgery for OA.
Each woman was asked a series of questions four to 11 years after the operation. The questions covered physical function, mental health, and satisfaction. Answers were compared between two groups. One group of women was overweight at the time of the operation. The second group was the same age and had the same operation. However, the women in the second group were normal weight.
All patients reported getting better after the surgery. Obese women had more trouble with physical activities such as walking or climbing stairs. They also reported more problems with work and daily activities. These problems may be caused by a condition called chondromalacia. Chondromalacia occurs when cartilage behind the kneecap is rough or damaged. The result is more knee pain.
The researchers conclude that arthroscopy works better for patients with mild degenerative problems. Patients who are overweight and who have OA may not do as well after arthroscopic surgery.
Mark M. Harrison, MD, FRCSC, et al. Influence of Obesity on Outcome after Knee Arthroscopy. In Arthroscopy. September 2004. Vol. 20. No. 7. Pp. 691-695.
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