Sarcopenic obesity is closely associated with knee osteoarthritis (KOA) and has high risk of total knee replacement (TKR). In addition, poor nutrition status may lead to sarcopenia and physical frailty in KOA and is negatively associated with surgery outcome after TKR. This study investigated the effects of sarcopenic obesity and its confounding factors on recovery in range of motion (ROM) after total knee replacement (TKR) in older adults with KOA. A total of 587 older adults, aged ≥60 years, who had a diagnosis of KOA and underwent TKR, were enrolled in this retrospective cohort study. Sarcopenia and obesity were defined based on cutoff values of appendicular mass index and body mass index for Asian people. Based on the sarcopenia and obesity definitions, patients were classified into three body-composition groups before TKR: sarcopenic-obese, obese, and non-obese. All patients were asked to attend postoperative outpatient follow-up admissions. Knee flexion ROM was measured before and after surgery. A ROM cutoff of 125 degrees was used to identify poor recovery post-surgery. Kaplan-Meier curve analysis was performed to measure the probability of poor ROM recovery among study groups. Cox multivariate regression models were established to calculate the hazard ratios (HRs) of postoperative poor ROM recovery, using potential confounding factors including age, sex, comorbidity, risk of malnutrition, preoperative ROM, and outpatient follow-up duration as covariates. Analyses results showed that patients in the obese and sarcopenic-obese groups had a higher probability of poor ROM recovery compared to the non-obese group (all p < 0.001). Among all body-composition groups, the sarcopenic-obese group yielded the highest risk of postoperative physical difficulty (adjusted HR = 1.63, p = 0.03), independent to the potential confounding factors. Sarcopenic obesity is likely at the high risk of poor ROM outcome following TKR in older individuals with KOA.
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