What Is the Impact of Body Mass Index Cutoffs on Total Hip Arthroplasty Complications?

David E. DeMik, James G. Kohler, Christopher N. Carender, Natalie A. Glass, Timothy S. Brown, Nicholas A. Bedard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Body mass index (BMI) cutoffs are commonly utilized to decide whether to offer obese patients elective total hip arthroplasty (THA). However, weight loss goals may be unachievable for many, and some patients are thereby denied complication-free surgery. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of varying BMI cutoffs on the rates of complication-free surgery after THA. Methods: Patients undergoing THA between 2015 and 2018 were identified in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database using Common Procedural Terminology code 27130. BMI and rates of 30-day complications were collected. BMI cutoffs of 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 kg/m2 were applied to model the incidence of complications if THA would have been allowed to proceed based on BMI. Results: A total of 192,394 patients underwent THA, and 13,970 (7%) of them had a BMI ≥40 kg/m2. With a BMI cutoff of 40 kg/m2, 178,424 (92.7%) patients would have proceeded with THA. From this set, 170,296 (95.4%) would experience complication-free surgery, and 11.8% of complications would be prevented. THA would proceed for 191,217 (99.3%) patients at a BMI cutoff of 50 kg/m2, of which 182,123 (95.2%) would not experience a complication, and 1.3% of complications would be prevented. Using 35 kg/m2 as the BMI cutoff would prevent 28.6% of complications and permit 75.9% of complication-free surgeries to proceed. Conclusion: Lower BMI cutoffs for THA can result in fewer complications although they will consequentially limit access to complication-free THA. Consideration of risks of obesity in THA may be best considered as part of a holistic assessment and shared decision-making when deciding on goals for weight reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1320-1325.e1
JournalThe Journal of Arthroplasty
Issue number7
Early online dateMar 8 2022
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • body mass index
  • complications
  • obesity
  • preoperative risk stratification
  • total hip arthroplasty
  • Body Mass Index
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip/adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications/epidemiology
  • Obesity/complications
  • Retrospective Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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