The annual spring meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons was held in Miami, Florida, from May 3rd-5th of 2018. This symposium on “Managing the Bariatric Patient” reviewed the diagnosis, etiology and management of obesity. Nationally-recognized bariatric surgeons spoke to the orthopedic surgeons in attendance about medical ramifications of obesity, risks obesity brings to joint replacement, and treatment options.
Bariatric surgery has evolved significantly over the last 20 years. According to the experts leading the conference, the new standard is a gastric sleeve procedure which reduces the stomach’s capacity by 90% to significantly decrease the patient’s appetite.
This procedure is done endoscopically, with an overnight stay, and is not associated with mal-absorption issues like previous bypass surgeries. Patients may take aspirin and other anti-inflammatories after operation. The experts also stated that most insurance policies now cover this procedure.
It is time we recognize obesity as a medical condition and not simply a lack of will-power. When we do, we will be able to treat it accordingly, and patients can safely have elective joint replacement. I encourage patients with significant weight issues to consult accredited bariatric centers for more information.