May 2012

Study finds no decrease in BMI after ankle surgery despite functional gains

In the moment: Surgery

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Overweight and obese patients with end-stage ankle arthritis may think that having surgery will inspire them to lose weight, but research from the University of British Columbia suggests that in reality this doesn’t happen.

Investigators retrospectively assessed 145 patients who had undergone successful ankle replacement or ankle fusion for end-stage arthritis and had body mass index values greater than 25 at the time of surgery. Successful surgery was defined by postoperative improvement on the Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale and the absence of revision surgery in the five years following the initial procedure.

Mean outcome scores on the AOS and the Short-Form 36 Physical Component Summary improved significantly at six months and one, two, and five years postoperatively. Mean BMI, however, did not differ significantly from baseline at any time point. The variable most strongly correlated with postoperative BMI was preoperative BMI.

The findings, published in the May issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, suggest that factors other than pain and functional limitations contribute to obesity in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. –JBF


Penner MJ, Pakzad H, Younger A, Wing KJ. Mean BMI of overweight and obese patients does not decrease after successful ankle reconstruction. J Bone Joint Surg Am 2012;94(9):e571-e577.

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