MORE than 41,000 obese people needed hip or knee replacement operations last year, according to new figures.
Ops for the extreme overweight have soared six-fold in only eight years.
An investigation by The Sunday Times found that the numbers of obese patients who have had joint replacement surgery have soared six-fold in only eight years from 6,191 in 2009-10 to 41,761 in 2017-18.
This 575 per cent increase in operations now costs the NHS £200m a year, with the shocking stats also showing that seven teenage girls had to go through the ops.
Although the surgery took place on people who are obese, surgeons have said that the excess weight may not have been the reason the treatment was required.
But the figures underline the scale of Britain’s weight problem which costs the NHS budget £6billion a year.
Last year 25,577 patients had knee replacements where obesity was the main, or second most important, diagnosis, with a further 16,184 patients in 2017-18 having hip replacements.
Obesity can put extra pressure on bones and excess fat in children and young people means they are far more likely to suffer joint problems later in life.
Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: “Governments of all colours have never treated obesity with the seriousness it deserves that is why we are in the mess we are in.
“The huge increase and numbers involved in obesity-related hip and knee operations are heartbreaking.
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The Royal College of Surgeons and British Orthopaedic Association said: “In recent years, many clinical commissioning groups have begun to restrict access to hip and knee surgery for obese patients – denying or delaying their surgery until they have lost weight.
“While it’s absolutely right that the NHS looks at how it helps patients to lose weight for their overall health, it is unfair, and goes against the principles of the NHS, to make it a condition of receiving treatment.”