Weight reduction can preserve knee cartilage in obese people


Obese patients who lose a large amount of weight experience considerably reduced degeneration

of the knee cartilage.

knee images with and without weight loss
The study found knee cartilage degenerated a lot slower in obese patients who lost over 10% of their body weight, especially in the weight-bearing regions of the joint.
Image credit: A. Gersing/UCSF

So states research presented in the Radiological Society of The United States (RSNA) meeting in Chicago, IL, on


The scientists investigated the hyperlink between different levels of weight reduction and also the advancement of

knee cartilage degeneration – as proven on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans – in over 500 overweight

and obese patients.

They found those who lost more than 10% of their body weight had slower degeneration of their

knee cartilage.

Osteo arthritis – also referred to as degenerative osteo-arthritis – is how there’s a progressive lack of the

cartilage within the joint. The knee is a very common site, as well as in lots of people, the condition progresses to the stage

where they have to possess the whole knee changed.

The chance of osteo arthritis increases as we grow older. Weight problems is another risk factor because transporting extra

weight puts added force on joints such as the sides and knees, also it increases inflammation-marketing

proteins created by fat tissue.

Study leader Dr. Alexandra Gersing, in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging in the

College of California-Bay Area (UCSF), states lack of cartilage in osteo arthritis can’t be

corrected, but:

“Obese patients who lose weight can slow down the progression of cartilage degeneration in

the knee.”

For his or her study, the scientists investigated the hyperlink between different levels of weight reduction and also the

rate of knee cartilage degeneration in 506 overweight and obese patients getting involved in a countrywide study

around the prevention and management of knee osteo arthritis.

MRI spots changes in cartilage quality ‘even before it breaks down’

Fast facts about osteoarthritis

  • Osteoarthritis affects over a third of American seniors
  • It accounted for over 3 million hospitalizations in the US in 2011
  • The disease occurs more frequently in women than men, especially after age 50.

Discover much more about osteo arthritis

The research participants, who either had mild to moderate osteo arthritis or known risks for that disease,

were put in three groups: individuals who didn’t slim down (the controls), individuals who lost just a little weight,

and individuals who lost a large amount of weight (greater than 10% of the bodyweight).

On the 4-year period, the patients went through MRI scans to determine how osteo arthritis advanced within their


Dr. Gersing explains that from the MRI measurements, they can see changes in cartilage quality at a very

initial phase, “before it breaks lower.”

Once the team examined how knee cartilage quality altered within the four years within the three groups, they found

that weight reduction made an appearance to provide a protective effect.

Dr. Gersing states this made an appearance to become significant at greater amounts of weight reduction:

“Cartilage degenerated a lot slower in the group that lost more than 10% of their body

weight, especially in the weight-bearing regions of the knee. However, those with 5-10% weight loss had

almost no difference in cartilage degeneration compared to those who didn’t lose weight.”

Dr. Gersing states weight reduction will not only help preserve the knee joint, it reduces the chance of

developing osteo arthritis he describes that along with moderate exercise, it is among the how to

avoid the disease.

The scientists are ongoing to follow along with the audience for an additional four years to discover what effect extra weight

might have around the knee joint.

Additionally they intend to perform a study to determine how diabetes – that is carefully associated with weight problems – affects cartilage


Meanwhile, from studies presented in a meeting of memory foam surgeons captured, Medical News

Today also found that obese patients have better joint substitute outcomes should they have weight-loss surgery before getting a new knee or hip.