Ayers to Huffington Post: Younger knee replacement patients are more obese

Data from UMMS-led research program shows high obesity rates contribute to increase in knee replacements

By Lisa M. Larson

UMass Medical School Communications

November 01, 2013
David Ayers, MD

New data from a national research program led by UMass Medical School that tracks total joint replacements and patient outcomes shows the high rate of obesity among Americans under age 65 is contributing to the significant increase in knee replacements, according to an Oct. 31 article published in the Huffington Post.

"What was once thought of as a procedure for older people or those with sporting injuries is changing," said study researcher David Ayers, MD, the Arthur M. Pappas, MD, Chair in Orthopedics, chair and professor of orthopedics & physical rehabilitation and director of the Musculoskeletal Center of Excellence at UMass Medical School. “Our study shows that younger patients are more obese and experience the same amount of pain and functional disability as older patients and in some cases even more.”

In the first 9,000 patients whose outcomes were tracked in the national database called FORCE-TJR, 55 percent of patients under age 65 were considered technically obese compared to 43 percent age 65 and older. Even more striking was that twice as many younger patients were in the morbidly obese category (body mass index greater than 40)—11 percent of those under age 65 versus 5 percent over age 65. The younger patients also had higher rates of smoking and lower mental health scores.

“Figuring out the best practices for rehabilitation and how to lose weight should be a priority,” said Patricia Franklin, MD, professor of orthopedics & physical rehabilitation and family medicine & community health, and principal investigator of FORCE-TJR, who presented the findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals in San Diego on Oct. 30.

FORCE-TJR, which stands for Function and Outcomes Research for Comparative Effectiveness in Total Joint Replacement, is funded by a $12 million grant from theAgency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The research program is developing a national database of surgical results and patient-reported outcomes that will include at least 30,000 TJR patients.

Read the full story: Obesity Behind Knee Replacements In Younger Adults

Related link on UMassMedNow:
Increasing rate of knee replacements linked to obesity among young