New York Times reports on UMMS-led joint replacement study

Franklin and Ayers quoted on new data showing obesity’s role in knee replacements

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

November 12, 2013

Once thought of as a procedure for older people or those with sporting injuries, total knee replacement surgery is skyrocketing among younger, obese patients, many of them less healthy than older knee replacement recipients.

On Nov. 12 the New York Times featured newly released data from a UMass Medical School-led national database showing that obesity is a major factor in the surge of total knee replacement surgeries. Patricia Franklin, MD, and David Ayers, MD, who are leading the national FORCE-TJR study of knee and hip replacements and patient-reported outcomes, were interviewed for the story.

“Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that people getting knee replacement are overweight,” Dr. Franklin, professor of orthopedics & physical rehabilitation and family medicine & community health, told the Times. “But we were surprised that the younger population wasn’t healthier and that they didn’t have the profile of healthy active adults.”

Franklin, who is also director of clinical outcomes research at UMMS and Dr. Ayers, the Arthur M. Pappas, MD, Chair in Orthopedics, chair and professor of orthopedics & physical rehabilitation are leading FORCE-TJR, which stands for Function and Outcomes Research for Comparative Effectiveness in Total Joint Replacement. Funded by a $12 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the research program is developing a national database of surgical results and patient-reported outcomes.

“Younger patients have significant pain and very severe functional limitations at the time of their total knee replacement surgery,” Ayers told the Times. “They’re heavier and they’re sicker.”

Read the full New York Times story: Adding Pounds, Then New Knees.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Ayers to Huffington Post: Younger knee replacement patients are more obese
Increasing rate of knee replacements linked to obesity among young
Newsmaker: Coexisting pain tied to worse knee replacement outcomes
Newsmaker: UMMS study looks at joint replacement surgery