Are surgeons still performing primary total knee arthroplasty in the morbidly obese?

D. E. DeMik, C. N. Carender, N. A. Glass, T. S. Brown, J. J. Callaghan, N. A. Bedard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Aims The purpose of this study was to assess total knee arthroplasty (TKA) volume and rates of early complications in morbidly obese patients over the last decade, where the introduction of quality models influencing perioperative care pathways occurred. Methods Patients undergoing TKA between 2011 to 2018 were identified in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Patients were stratified by BMI < 40 kg/m2 and ≥ 40 kg/m2 and evaluated by the number of cases per year. The 30-day rates of any complication, wound complications, readmissions, and reoperation were assessed. Trends in these endpoints over the study period were compared between groups using odds ratios (ORs) and multivariate analyses. Results In total, 314,695 patients underwent TKA and 46,362 (15%) had BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2. The prevalence of morbid obesity among TKA patients did not change greatly, ranging between 14% and 16%. Reoperation rate decreased from 1.16% to 0.96% (odds ratio (OR) 0.81 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66 to 0.99)) for patients with BMI < 40 kg/m2, as did rates of readmission (4.46% to 2.87%; OR 0.61 (0.55 to 0.69)). Patients with BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 also had fewer readmissions over the study period (4.87% to 3.34%; OR 0.64 (0.49 to 0.83)); however, the rate of reoperation did not change (1.37% to 1.41%; OR 0.99 (0.62 to 1.56)). Significant improvements were not observed for infective complications over time for either group; patients with BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 had increased risk of both deep infection and wound complications compared to non-morbidly obese patients. Rate of any complication decreased for all patients. conclusion The proportion of TKAs in morbidly obese patients has not significantly changed over the past decade. Although readmission rates improved for all patients, reductions in reoperation in non-morbidly obese patients were not experienced by the morbidly obese, resulting in a widening of the complication gap between these cohorts. Care improvements have not lowered the differential risk of infective complications in the morbidly obese.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalBone and Joint Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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