Key reasons to shed the pounds before going under the knife
Losing weight before orthopaedic surgery can help to reduce the risk of complications, and promotes speedier recovery and healing.
Knee and hip replacements are amongst the most common surgical procedures in the UK, with more than 200,000 patients going under the knife every year. While the results of these operations can be life changing, the surgery itself is not without risks. In order to reduce these risks and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome, health professionals recommend that overweight patients attempt weight loss before orthopaedic surgery.
One of the key reasons to lose weight before going under the knife is to increase your chances of a safe and successful operation. While orthopaedic surgery is a fairly commonplace procedure, it is not without risks – and those risks increase if a patient is overweight or obese.
The more tissue a surgeon has to cut through in order to get to the joint, the longer the operation is likely to take. And a longer operation increases the risk of complications and infection.
Anaesthesia is also a particular area of concern; carrying excess weight makes it more difficult for anaesthetists to administer spinal blocks, locate veins, and to ensure that the patient gets sufficient oxygen during surgery. Larger patients also require larger doses of medication in order to stay sedated and, during a longer operation, this can pose a risk to the patient’s health and wellbeing.
While the majority of orthopaedic operations are successful, some patients do experience post-operative complications, which can prolong recovery and cause pain and discomfort. In some extreme cases, the joint may even need to be operated on for a second time. However, you can reduce these risks by losing weight before your operation. Research has shown that losing weight prior to going under the knife can reduce the risk of complication by as much as 75% – a very persuasive reason to try and shift those excess pounds!
After undergoing surgery, most people want to get back to their normal life as quickly as possible, and losing weight before the operation can really help you to do this by speeding up your recovery period.
Good circulation is essential to the healing process as your body needs a good supply of blood and oxygen in order to repair itself. If you’re carrying excess weight, this can put extra pressure on your blood vessels and slow down your circulation, which in turn increases the time it takes to heal. What’s more, obesity is linked with a number of health problems – from diabetes to high blood pressure and breathing difficulties – and these conditions can limit your medication options, potentially further delaying your recovery.
Your weight can also have an impact on how quickly you regain mobility after orthopaedic surgery. Physical therapy is an important part of your recovery, but people who are overweight can often struggle with some of the exercises, which means that it takes longer to regain mobility in the affected joint.
The case for losing weight before orthopaedic surgery is fairly clear-cut. Joining a slimming club, following a meal replacement plan, trying weight loss hypnotherapy, or simply following a good old-fashioned calorie-controlled diet are all methods that could potentially help you to reach a healthier weight.
Losing weight isn’t always easy, but in this case the results are definitely worth the effort. So, do all you can to shed the pounds and increase your chances of a safe operation and a speedy, complication-free recovery.