BMI Restrictions for Joint Replacements

I have been housebound and unable to walk for the past 20 months and despite x-rays showing that I need a hip and knee replacement, I have been refused treatment because my weight is above the BMI of 25 my health authority has placed on such operations. I am desperately trying to find a hospitals that do not have these restrictions but it is almost impossible. Does anyone have this information so that I can give this to my doctor so that he can refer me for surgery.




  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    My baby sister has stage 4 OA in her right knee and was told to lose weight prior to surgery, she duly lost 2 stone and then she was told that they would not operate until she is 67 so she has 9 more years of agony to wait. A high BMI is not just about the pressure on the joints due to extra weight but also can affect anaesthetic and a significantly higher risk of postoperative complications, such as heart attack, wound infection, nerve injury and other problems.

  • Hi Mike,

    Unfortunately, both the Royal College of Surgeons and N.I.C.E. have stated that studies have shown that the outcomes of both overweight and normal weight patients have the same outcome after joint replacement. The Royal College of Surgeons have called the BMI restrictions a way of ripping off patients. N.I.C.E are totally against this practice and have said that it goes against their guidelines of treatment. Overweight people can be as fit and healthy as thinner people so there is no excuse except saving money. A joint operation costs the NHS £5,000, if I go privately I could get an operation regardless of my weight but it would cost me £15,000. This is the reason I am trying to find a list of accepting hospitals in the UK that will do it on the NHS.

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Another case of conflicting information!

  • Hi Elaine

    Thank you for your post to the helpline, just to let you know that I’ve seen your other post and am really pleased that you have started your own thread, and thanks to Mike for his helpful responses.

    I am so sorry to hear that you’ve been housebound and unable to walk for the past 20 months. It sounds as if you’re going through a really challenging time. You are very welcome to call us on our helpline:  0800 5200 520 (weekdays 9am – 8pm) if at any point you’d like to talk things through, sometimes a listening ear can be helpful.

    You might like to speak to the patient’s association helpline: (0800 345 7115) who may be able to advise on hospitals who do not impose restrictions

    If you repost on the ‘living with arthritis’ forum you should get further responses.

    I hope this is of some help.

    Best wishes


    Helpline team

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