Bariatric Surgery may help overcome the challenges of Knee Surgery in Patients with Obesity

Knee Surgery

Knee surgery is a crucial intervention for patients suffering from severe knee problems, including arthritis and injury-induced damage. However, for super-obese patients, traditional knee surgery presents unique challenges that can complicate both the procedure and the recovery process.

This blog explores the obstacles associated with performing knee surgery on patients living with obesity and discusses how bariatric surgery can serve as a preliminary step to enhance the effectiveness and safety of orthopaedic operations.

Understanding the Challenges

Super obese patients — patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher—face several specific challenges when undergoing knee surgery:

  1. Increased Surgical Risks: The physical size and weight of patients with a BMI of over 40 can make surgery technically more difficult. The excess weight puts additional stress on the knee joint, making surgery more difficult and increasing the risk of complications such as infections, blood clots, and prolonged healing times.
  2. Anaesthetic Complications: Anaesthesia in patients living with severe and complex obesity is more complex due to issues with drug dosing and the potential for respiratory problems. These patients often have a reduced lung capacity and may suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, which can complicate postoperative recovery.
  3. Postoperative Complications: Super obese patients are at a higher risk of post-surgical complications. Their weight can impede mobility, compliance with physiotherapy and rehabilitation, essential components of successful knee surgery recovery. Reduced mobility increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, which can potentially be life-threatening.
  4. Limited Rehabilitation Success: The effectiveness of postoperative physical therapy is crucial for the success of knee surgery. Obese patients may struggle with the physical therapy regime which can affect the ultimate success of the surgery.

How Bariatric Surgery Can Pave the Way for Successful Knee Surgery

Bariatric surgery offers a viable solution to reduce these risks by facilitating significant weight loss prior to knee surgery. The benefits of undergoing bariatric surgery before knee or other joint replacement orthopaedic procedures include:

  1. Reduced Body Weight: Significant weight loss following bariatric surgery reduces the stress on the knees, thereby lowering the surgical risk and potentially improving the outcomes of knee surgery.
  2. Improved Overall Health:Bariatric surgery can lead to improvements in many obesity-related comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, obstructive sleep apnoea and well-being which are critical for reducing overall surgical risks.
  3. Enhanced Mobility: Weight loss improves mobility and flexibility, which can make the rehabilitation process more manageable, effective and successful.
  4. Lower Risk of Surgical Complications: The reduction in weight can decrease the chances of complications related to anesthesia, as well as postoperative complications such as wound and joint infections and DVT.

For super-obese patients, the path to successful knee surgery often begins with addressing the underlying issue of obesity. Bariatric surgery not only provides a means to achieve significant weight loss but also enhances the safety and effectiveness of subsequent orthopaedic procedures. By reducing the body weight and improving overall health, bariatric surgery helps pave the way for successful knee surgery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the obesity and is considering knee surgery, it may be beneficial to explore bariatric surgery as a first step. Consulting with a specialist at Blackrock WeightCare will help you understand weightloss/bariatric surgery. It can provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

You can also register for the information session, “Bariatric Open House.” To register drop an email at

This session is organized to answer all your queries related to bariatric surgery and the benefits of weight loss for overall well-being. 

Your Health. We Care.