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28-07-2018 | Osteoarthritis | Review | Article

The impact of sarcopenic obesity on knee and hip osteoarthritis: a scoping review

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

Authors: Kristine Godziuk, Carla M. Prado, Linda J. Woodhouse, Mary Forhan

Publisher: BioMed Central



The progressive, debilitating nature of knee and hip osteoarthritis can result in severe, persistent pain and disability, potentially leading to a need for total joint arthroplasty (TJA) in end-stage osteoarthritis. TJA in adults with obesity is associated with increased surgical risk and prolonged recovery, yet classifying obesity only using body mass index (BMI) precludes distinction of obesity phenotypes and their impact on surgical risk and recovery. The sarcopenic obesity phenotype, characterized by high adiposity and low skeletal muscle mass, is associated with higher infection rates, poorer function, and slower recovery after surgery in other clinical populations, but not thoroughly investigated in osteoarthritis. The rising prevalence and impact of this phenotype demands further attention in osteoarthritis treatment models of care, particularly as osteoarthritis-related pain, disability, and current treatment practices may inadvertently be influencing its development.


A scoping review was used to examine the extent of evidence of sarcopenic obesity in adults with hip or knee osteoarthritis. Medline, CINAHL, Web of Science and EMBASE were systematically searched from inception to December 2017 with keywords and subject headings related to obesity, sarcopenia and osteoarthritis.


Eleven studies met inclusion criteria, with indications that muscle weakness, low skeletal muscle mass or sarcopenia are present alongside obesity in this population, potentially impacting therapeutic outcomes, and TJA surgical risk and recovery.


Consideration of sarcopenic obesity should be included in osteoarthritis patient assessments.

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