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DANVILLE -- Is it better for an obese individual to have weight loss surgery before a total knee replacement? Christopher Still (right), D.O., director of Geisinger’s Obesity Institute, is leading a study involving research teams at five of the nation’s more prominent medical centers to find out.

“It’s an important question. By performing weight loss surgery before total knee replacement surgery, individuals may have a faster recovery and, for some individuals, the need for knee surgery may be delayed or even eliminated,” explains Dr. Still.

To find the answer, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. has awarded Geisinger $4.7 million. The grant funds a multi-year clinical study that will involve a collaboration between Geisinger’s Obesity Institute, Orthopedic Institute, and Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery Department. In addition, Geisinger will partner with clinical research teams at Cleveland Clinic-Florida, Stanford University, New York University, and the University of Virginia. The study, known as the SWIFT Trial, is expected to begin enrolling patients in December. “This is the first controlled study that will investigate the health outcomes of undergoing weight loss surgery before total knee replacement surgery,” explains Dr. Still, the principal investigator. Geisinger co-principal investigators include Dr. Michael Suk, Director of Geisinger’s Orthopedics Institute, and Dr. Anthony Petrick, Director of Geisinger’s Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery Department.

“Obese individuals are more likely to require knee replacement decades before an individual of normal weight because extra weight adds wear and tear on the joint,” notes Dr. Still. “And as the percentage of obese individuals increases, more people are candidates for total knee replacement surgery.”

“The biggest goal of this trial is to come up with a new approach that allows us to make total knee replacement safer and more successful for our patients,” adds Dr. Still.

If you think you may be a candidate for the trial, talk to your doctor.

The study is funded by Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. grant #26695.


About Geisinger
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development of innovative care delivery models such as ProvenHealth Navigator®, ProvenCare® and ProvenExperience®. As one of the nation’s largest health service organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and also in southern New Jersey at AtlantiCare, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. In 2017, the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital became the newest members of the Geisinger Family. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 13 hospital campuses, two research centers, and a 583,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $12.7 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Geisinger has repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.


About the Massachusetts Medical Society
The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 25,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society, under the auspices of NEJM Group, publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education providing accredited and certified activities across the globe for physicians and other health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information please visit,, or