Online Appointment Requests

For convenient scheduling, request an appointment online.

Why a Plant-Based Diet is Key for Joint Replacement (and Your Overall Health)

By William P. Barrett, MD on

The incidence of hip and knee replacements is increasing and will continue to do so for the next two decades. With the transformation of healthcare reimbursement to a value-based, episode-of-care model, there will be closer scrutiny of all factors that affect outcomes of joint replacement surgery. Such factors include those on the orthopedic surgeon‘s side, such as their experience and ability, as well as patient factors such as weight, overall health, presence of medical co-morbidities, and implant factors.

Large database studies have documented the increased incidence of complications among individuals who are obese based on their BMI. As hospitals, outpatient facilities, and surgeons will be evaluated and reimbursed based on occurrence of complications, patient related factors will be scrutinized more closely in the future. Obesity rates continue to rise in the United States, impacting over a third of our population, many of whom suffer from joint issues. The rate of obesity approaches 50% in joint replacement patients. The reasons are multifactorial, but the primary reason is diet i.e. what we consume on a daily basis.

In his book How Not to Die, co-authored with Gene Stone, Dr. Michael Greger outlines his thoughts about diet, health, and avoiding common causes of an unhealthy diet. He discusses how patients often say, “I don’t eat that much but just seem to gain weight.” However, it’s not just about how much we eat, but what we eat. Increasingly, patients will be asked to optimize their health prior to consideration of joint replacement surgery. As part of this optimization, weight loss, diabetes control, smoking cessation and better stength will be stressed. Gone will be the days of the “Doc, you just have to fix me” mentality. These changes, while requiring adjustments, will be beneficial in the long run for individual patients and the healthcare system overall. By adopting best practices for pre-op patient optimization, surgery, patient care, aftercare and rehab, we can optimize outcomes while hopefully reducing costs.



4011 Talbot Rd S #300
Renton, WA 98055

Phone: 425.656.5060
Fax: 425.656.5047


27005 168th Pl SE #201
Covington, WA 98042

Phone: 253.630.3660
Fax: 253.631.1591

Maple Valley

24060 SE Kent Kangley Rd,
Maple Valley, WA 98038

Phone: 425.358.7708
Fax: 425.656.5047

Latest POA News

  • Exciting News from our Covington Location

    Our POA team has always loved serving the Covington community, so we are excited to announce that on April 16th, we will be expanding our Covington footprint! Currently, the POA Covington location has a clinic for our orthopedic doctors on the second floor and MRI services on the third floor. This spring, we are aiming …

  • What’s New in Knee Surgery

    The following article is written by Andrew Merritt, MD. This month in KSSTA, Kim et al. investigate the outcomes of ACL surgery in patients with hyperlaxity. Hyperlaxity is defined by having joints that are “extra-mobile” and present sometimes as “double-jointed.” Most commonly in young females, we frequently see athletes with hyperlaxity that sustain injuries to …

  • The Final Stage of ACL Recovery: Preventing Another Injury

    The following article is written by Andrew Merritt, MD. Anterior cruciate injuries (ACL) injuries continue to increase as people are playing more competitive, year-around sports. One of the most important aspects of recovering from ACL surgery is to prevent the injury from happening again. Most ACL injuries occur from pivoting during sports and not from …

Dr. Barrett's Blog

  • The Importance of Physician Assistants

    There are over 1 million hip and knee replacements performed in the U.S. per year and this number is expected to increase significantly over the next decade. There is a finite number of orthopedic surgeons trained to perform this kind of surgery, and that number is not increasing at a rate to keep up with …

  • Managing Your Pain After Joint Replacement Surgery

    At POA, we use multimodal pain management for your joint replacement. This begins with preoperative medications given in the pre-op area, spinal anesthesia, and use of regional and local blocks about your hip or knee. Following your surgery pain is managed during your overnight stay by the nursing staff at the VMC joint center. This consists …

  • VMC Center for Joint Replacement: Recognition, Results and Future

    As we start 2018 we are proud of being ranked #1 for joint replacement in Washington State by CareChex Quality Rating System. They use a variety of quality metrics to achieve their rankings, including: quality, performance and safety analytics. As the first joint replacement center in the state, we continue to evolve our delivery of …