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Total Knee Arthroplasty Has Long-Term Benefits

Physical function improvements seen in both obese and non-obese patients

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- The physical function benefits of total knee arthroplasty to treat osteoarthritis are sustained beyond five years and are seen in both obese and non-obese patients, according to the results of a study published online July 29 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Janet Cushnaghan, of the University of Southampton in Southampton, U.K., and colleagues conducted a study of 325 patients with osteoarthritis who underwent total knee arthroplasty and were followed-up for six years, as were 363 healthy controls.

During the follow-up period, the controls experienced a drop of 14 points on the Short Form 36 Health Survey, whereas those in the surgery group improved by six points. Although the improvement was more modest in obese patients versus non-obese patients, there was still a significant improvement over the scores of obese patients in the control group, the investigators found. Patients with more severe radiological disease of the knee tended to report greater improvements while those who reported pain in other joints at baseline tended to report smaller improvements.

"Improvements in physical function following total knee arthroplasty for osteoarthritis are sustained beyond five years," the authors conclude. "The benefits are apparent in patients who are obese as well as non-obese, and there seems no justification for withholding total knee arthroplasty from obese patients solely on the grounds of their body mass index."

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