Joint problems such as osteoarthritis and obesity can be a vicious cycle. Being overweight can put too much pressure on your joints, accelerating their tear and wear. However, physical activity is needed for one to drop those excess pounds, making joint pain a hindrance in doing that. 

Bariatric or Total Joint Replacement Surgery: Which surgery should be performed first?

Orthopedic surgeons agree that performing bariatric surgery first prior to any orthopedic surgery could benefit the patient. It could result in significantly shorter operating times and shorter hospital stays. 

In a retrospective observational study of patients who underwent bariatric surgery plus knee or hip replacement surgery, those who underwent the weight loss surgery had lower pre-operative BMI compared to those who had the joint surgery first. There was also a significant time difference in the operating time between two groups (71 minutes when it was done after bariatric surgery vs. 113.5 minutes when it was done prior to bariatric surgery) and length of hospital stay (1.9 days vs. 2.9 days).

Benefits of Losing Weight Prior to Orthopedic Surgery

All surgeries carry some degree of risks, but patients who are overweight are at higher risk of developing surgery-related complications. In joint replacement surgeries, obese patients have higher chances of developing:

  • Infection
  • Heart problems
  • Blood clots
  • Need for another surgery

You can significantly reduce your chances of developing these and increasing your chance of a successful surgery if you lose weight before your joint replacement. In some cases, weight loss has reduced the pain that surgery is no longer needed.

If you’re morbidly obese and have been unsuccessful with other weight loss methods, you may qualify for bariatric surgery. Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons of Knoxville has a dedicated web page for self-assessment and also offers FREE informational seminars to learn about the different surgical options. You can watch our convenient online seminar anytime at

To register to attend an In-person seminar with one of our surgeons, call us at (865) 541-4500.


Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is part of Premier Surgical Bariatrics in Knoxville, TN. Foothills Weight Loss is affiliated with the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery, a member of Covenant Health Bariatric Services.