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Orthopedics. 2014 Mar;37(3):e252-9. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20140225-57.

Safety of bilateral total knee arthroplasty in morbidly obese patients.


There has been an increase in the prevalence of morbid obesity and the demand for total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Physicians must help patients with bilateral knee arthritis to make informed decisions regarding whether to undergo staged, sequential, or simultaneous TKA. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the perioperative complications of 2-team simultaneous bilateral TKA in the morbidly obese. The authors performed a retrospective review of the records at a single tertiary hospital from 1997 to 2007 and identified 35 morbidly obese (body mass index [BMI] greater than 40 kg/m(2)) patients who had undergone unilateral TKA, as well as 42 morbidly obese and 79 nonobese (BMI less than 30 kg/m(2)) patients who underwent simultaneous bilateral TKA. Clinical, operative, and postoperative variables and complication rates were recorded. Clinical variables were similar between the morbidly obese TKA patients. The bilateral group had significantly increased operative times (132.4 vs 115.5 minutes; P<.01), intravenous fluids (2556.1 vs 2114.7 mL; P=.03), percentage transfused (64.2% vs 11.4%; P<.01), days in the hospital (3.6 vs 3.2 days; P=.03), and discharge rates to rehabilitation facility (72.7% vs 48.6%; P=.01). Major and minor complications were few and comparable, with the need for manipulation under anesthesia in unilateral TKA (11.4%; P=.04) as the only significant difference between groups, including when comparing bilateral nonobese TKAs with bilateral morbidly obese TKAs. The authors feel that morbidly obese patients may undergo 2-team simultaneous bilateral TKA after careful discussion regarding some of the differences in short-term outcomes.

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