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Diabetes not a factor in preventing joint replacement surgery

Diabetes not a factor in preventing joint replacement surgery
A new calculator tool assesses patient’s risks ahead of operations for joint replacement.
Published: May 14, 2019
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It had previously been believed that having diabetes could be a risk factor when considering a patient for joint replacement surgery.

However, a new study has found that diabetes should not to be automatically associated with an increased risk of post-operative infection, as had been thought.

Researchers at the Coxa Hospital for Joint Replacement in Finland used the Orthopaedist’s Risk Assessment Tool (ORA) - a unique calculator that produces an accurate, evidence-based assessment of surgical risks tailored to the individual circumstances of each patient.

For the study, results from 40,000 patients were taken by the ORA risk assessment tool, which is designed to support orthopaedic surgeons as they make decisions about joint replacement surgery.

The risk assessment tool played a key role in revealing new information about the risks associated with joint replacement surgery, including that diabetes on its own does not constitute a significant risk factor.

In addition, an increased body mass index (BMI) was also not as significant a risk factor as previously believed.

Antti Eskelinen, Research Director at Coxa, said: “We know that the risk of mortality can rise significantly when two or more of certain variables are present. This sort of risk may be difficult to identify just by looking at the patient’s medical records, but the ORA tool will pick up on it on the clinician’s behalf.

“In our experience, patients are more likely to engage with their treatment if the clinicians caring for them can quantify the risks, including showing what the risks look like relative to other patients. The benefit of ORA is that it makes this information available in an accessible and easy to understand format. When it comes to risk factors that patients do have control over, it is easier to help motivate the patients to make the necessary changes when they have first seen the statistical numbers and graphs for themselves.”

Around 2 million joint replacement surgeries are carried out around the world each year.

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