Joint replacement surgery is a very common procedure in the United States, with over 1 million operations performed per year for the hip or the knee. It is also an effective procedure—90 percent of patients who undergo joint replacement surgery report increased mobility and reduced pain. For people with severe joint pain that prevents them from enjoying their everyday lives, joint replacement surgery seems like an easy decision to make.
However, for this surgery to be optimally effective, patients should be in relatively strong physical health. Doctors may make several lifestyle change recommendations prior to the surgery. If you are overweight, losing weight is among the most important changes that your doctor will recommend prior to surgery.
The Risks of Being Overweight and Seeking Joint Replacement Surgery
Being overweight can cause an array of complications for those who undergo joint replacement surgery. Patients with a BMI of over 40 are at increased risk of infection and deep vein thrombosis—a very serious blood clot—which can lead to pulmonary embolisms and cause a stroke or death.
Aside from these rather grim circumstances, additional weight can simply make the recovery process more difficult or cause the joint replacement to fail entirely. This is because additional weight places added pressure on areas like the knees, where joint replacements commonly occur. The added pressure may decrease the life span of a joint replacement, necessitating future operations. Every additional procedure needed after the original will have a less successful outcome than the first.
If you are overweight and want to undergo joint replacement surgery, seriously consider making changes to your diet and exercise first. These complications caused by being overweight are not mere annoyances—they can be costly, painful, and even life-threatening.
Medifast offers a safe, quick, healthy program for weight loss that is an excellent option to consider prior to undergoing joint replacement surgery. People tend to think that undergoing a joint replacement will take away pain and make it easier to lose weight after surgery. In theory this makes perfect sense, but in reality studies have not shown this to work. Therefore, losing weight prior to the procedure will make the physical therapy afterwards and rehab considerably easier.
Weight Loss and Surgery Recovery
Weight loss will not only help avoid serious complications after joint replacement surgery, but it will also help to quicken and aid recovery time. By building up strong muscles around the joint replacement, you can help to quicken recovery time and ensure that the recovery process goes smoothly. Also, building up strength in the upper body can help you effectively walk on crutches after surgery, if they are needed.
How Should I Lose Weight Before Surgery?
If you are committed to losing weight before joint replacement surgery, you may be wondering what your options are, especially considering that, in all likelihood, high-impact exercise is already painful. Fortunately, there are many low-impact exercises that can help you get in shape before your surgery.
Walking, swimming, and using an elliptical are all effective, low-impact exercises that are ideal to incorporate into your lifestyle before surgery. Consulting a doctor or physical therapist will be helpful to create an exercise plan that is best suited for your unique needs.
Along with exercise, the Medifast Weight Control Program represents an excellent option for presurgical body shaping. You will be able to slim down and be prepared for the procedure and the post-operative physical therapy.
Losing weight prior to joint replacement surgery helps to avoid serious complications and promotes healthy recovery after the procedure. This lifestyle change can also set the course for a healthier, more active life after surgery and recovery.