Total knee replacement cost effective for patients with osteoarthritis and extreme obesity


Total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is cost-effective in patients with severe obesity (BMI of 40Kg/m2 or greater) and end-stage osteoarthritis. Typically, surgeons hesitate to perform TKR in these patients because they tend to have high rates of complications post-surgery. Findings from a cost-effectiveness analysis are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Obesity is a major risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, which affects more than 14 million adults in the United States. As such, a growing proportion of patients receiving TKR are obese (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher). In fact, 45.5% of TKR recipients in 2006 to 2010 had a BMI between 30 and less than 40 kg/m2, and 14.8% had a BMI of 40 kg/m2 or greater. While TKR has been shown to be very effective and cost-effective in non-obese patients with end-stage knee OA in the US, the question of whether or not TKR is cost-effective in this population has not been addressed.

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