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Forum Tackles The Rising Costs, Challenges And Diminished Outcomes Associated With Treating Obese Patients For Orthopaedic Conditions

Orthopaedic Surgeons should recommend weight loss to patients prior to joint replacement

ROSEMONT, Ill., April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The obesity epidemic in America and its impact on musculoskeletal health, as well as related treatment outcomes and costs, was discussed during the AAOS Now forum, "Obesity, Orthopaedics and Outcomes," at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons  (AAOS) at McCormick Place in Chicago. 

"From 1960 to 2000, the rate of obesity more than doubled in the United States," said Frank B. Kelly, MD, AAOS Now editorial board member and forum moderator. "By 2010, more than 72 million of U.S. adults were obese, and no state had an obesity rate of less than 20 percent."  These statistics include children, of whom one in three is considered obese in the United States.

An adult or child with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult or child with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.

In orthopaedics, evidence is mounting that a high BMI can cause or exacerbate musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis, and diminish treatment outcomes.  For example, being overweight increases the risk of wound infection, pulmonary complications, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), myocardial infarction (MI) and other complications following orthopaedic surgery.

Elena Losina, Ph.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston cited poor nutrition, often due to a high-fat diet, overeating and/or excessive eating out; physical inactivity; psychological problems; lack of willpower and metabolic or endocrine disorders as leading causes of weight gain.

Overall, when combined with inactivity, a high BMI can cut life expectancy by as much as seven years, said Dr. Losina.

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