Scientists from the Lawson Health Research Institute in London are conducting a study to find out how taking probiotics affects patients after a total knee replacement.
Lawson Scientist Dr. Matthew Teeter says one in five patients out of the 70,000 who undergo knee replacements each year experience complications. Common issues include pain and discomfort, infections, and loosening of the joint.
"The knee replacement patients I see in clinic are very diverse - from young healthy active patients to medically complex to socioeconomically disadvantaged," says Dr. Brent Lanting, Lawson scientist and orthopaedic surgeon at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). "We know those with poor health do not do as well as those with good health, good diet, and good supports. This study is profound in that it investigates a core aspect of our health – the gut microbiome."
Probiotics are a combination of microorganisms that keep your body functioning healthily. Daily probiotic supplements help support good bacteria in the gut.
"Our microbiome is a large part of why we are healthy. A healthy person has a microbiome that produces vitamins and other things which cross over to our system and helps promote healing,” said Lawson Scientist Dr. Jeremy Burton, who also serves as research chair of Human Microbiome and Probiotics at St. Joseph’s Health Care London. "We are hoping it will improve more deep healing and prevention of the rejection of the joint by improving the microbiota by giving probiotics."
30 participants will participate in this study, backed with $250,000 from the New Frontiers in Research Fund over three years. Half of the cohort will take a daily probiotic for six weeks leading up to their surgery. The other half will be a control group.
Post-surgery, researchers will assess each patient with CT imaging and PET/MRI to examine the bone, implant, inflammation, and cellular activity around the joint.
If results of the study are promising, the team will aim for a more comprehensive clinical trial
"Ultimately, we want better patient outcomes with a simple treatment," Burton explained. "If we can help improve outcomes with the use of a daily probiotic, that is a great win."