Peri-operative care considerations for primary total knee arthroplasty in the obese patient

Jose A. Romero, Richard “Dickey” Jones, Timothy S. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the United States an increasing obesity epidemic compounded with growth in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) utilization is increasing the incidence of TKA in the obese population. Arthroplasty surgeons are directly affected by the obesity epidemic and need to understand how to safely offer a range of peri-operative care for these patients in order to ensure good clinical outcomes. Preoperative care for the obese patient involves nutritional counseling, weight loss methods, consideration for bariatric surgery, physical therapy, metabolic workup with diagnosis, and management of frequent comorbid conditions. Obese patients must also be counseled on their increased risk of complications following TKA. A successful surgical result is dependent on early risk mitigation techniques including weight loss, co-morbidity management, and nutritional optimization. In the operating room several steps can be taken to improve successful outcomes when performing TKA on obese patients. Peri-operative techniques including adequate surgical exposure, component positioning, and implant selection play an important role in the longevity of the implant in the obese TKA population who are at risk for post-operative tibial loosening and increased re-operation rates. Appropriate weight-adjusted antibiotic dosing, sterile surgical techniques, wound closure and coverage are essential in reducing infection in this susceptible population. Post-operative care of the obese patient following TKA involves several unique considerations. Chronic pain and obesity are frequent comorbid conditions and post-operative pain control regimens need to be tailored to these patients to improve function and surgical outcome. Obese patients can have a higher rate of all complications compared to healthy weight. All infection and deep infection increased in obese patients and patients must be counseled on their risks pre-operatively to encourage an active role in risk mitigation in the peri-operative period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-49
Number of pages4
JournalSeminars in Arthroplasty
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Morbidly obese
  • Obesity
  • Peri-operative complications
  • Total knee arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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