Weight Management and Diabetic Care Before Joint Replacement Surgery

Image Credit: Midwest Center For Joint Replacement 

“Wellbeing is about the combination of our love for what we do each day, the quality of our relationships, the security of our finances, the vibrancy of our physical health, and the pride we take in what we have contributed to our communities. Most importantly, it’s about how these five elements interact.”

– Tom Rath

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

In all things, prevention is better than cure. One of the best ways that medical researchers have found to reduce the risk of postoperative infections in patients is via the management of the weight of their patients. Two critical parameters have been linked to post operative complications. These are obesity and diabetes. 

In order to minimise their effects on joint replacement patients, preliminary care must be conducted in order to ensure a healthy recovery. Comorbidities that are existent in the body, must be managed in order to optimise surgical recovery. 

Excessive weight induces stresses on the body that can impact new joints. It was also the contributor to the initial joint damage that existed. In order to eliminate the root cause, if patient weight is properly managed, the patient’s body will be able to operate as it was designed to operate. 

Knowing this primary impact, many patients who are candidates for joint replacement surgery are now being categorised according to their weight profiles. If a patient is classified as a high risk patient, they are currently being advised to take alternate consultations in nutrition and weight management, in order to manage any underlying conditions. 

The onset of joint replacement surgery now becomes one of better holistic care as part of the treatment plan. Patients are able to identify the connection between their actions and their resultant lifestyles. This approach actually works best for both doctors and patients. The orthopaedic surgeon will accomplish their goal of a successful joint replacement, and the patient will have better health and faster recovery. 

Doctor – Patient Consultation 

There are various factors to consider when preparing patients for joint replacement surgery. After studying many patients the following factors are topics of conversation for preparatory plans. 

  1. Height and weight considerations. 
  2. Utilisation of tobacco and narcotics. Tobacco use has been found to be directly correlated with reduction in rates of post operative recovery. 
  3. Presence of any diabetic condition, and identification of treatment plans if any. 

High risk patients are often assigned a special team to ensure that they are properly monitored during this process. At Mayo Clinic for instance, special orthopaedic nurses are assigned to patients, to guide them through their preparation and treatment. 

Post-Surgical Infection 

Studies have shown that patients with a body mass index of above 40-50, are at a higher risk of developing a post surgical infection, than those who are below the threshold. The preliminary treatment plans help to reduce those risks, though some patients still opt to have their surgeries conducted despite this fact. Some patients find it hard to do the work that is involved in changing their lifestyle, and impact their long term health goals. Having a strong will and a disciplined life, will be the key to a successful joint replacement outcome. 

Joint Replacement Surgery can be incentivized, and the emerging best practice will be to schedule joint replacement surgeries once a patient has reached their weight goals.  

Article Reference: 

Mayo Clinic: Preparations for Joint Replacement 

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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