Being extremely overweight can cause permanent damage to a person's knees, according to new research from scientists at the Emory University in Atlanta, US.
The scientists behind the study, which was presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, claim that while having weight loss surgery - including the fitting of a gastric band - may improve knee pain in overweight patients suffering from osteoarthritis, the physical damage to the joint may be irreversible.
Michael Sridhar, co-author of the Emory University study, said: "For a long time people felt there was nothing they could do to mitigate the debilitating effects of knee arthritis, but now we know that surgically-assisted weight loss is a way that folks can help themselves."
However, he added that some elements of damage caused by morbid obesity could actually hamper the benefits of gastric bypass surgery.
Recent research from Dr Theophilus Owan of the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, US, showed that gastric bypass surgery was linked to improved cardiovascular health.
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1 Sridhar, Michael et al. "Does Obesity Cause Irreparable Damage To Knees Despite Weight Loss?". 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Tuesday, February 15th 2011.
2 Owan, Dr Theophilus et al. "Favorable Changes in Cardiac Geometry and Function Following Gastric Bypass Surgery: 2-Year Follow-Up in the Utah Obesity Study”. Journal of American College of Cardiology. Tuesday, February 8th 2011.