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Lumbar Decompression Doesn't Lead to Weight Loss

After successful surgery, few overweight and obese patients lose significant amount of weight

THURSDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- After successful lumbar decompression surgery, most overweight and obese patients either maintain or gain body weight despite significant improvements in physical function and symptoms such as neurogenic claudication, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Ryan M. Garcia, M.D., of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and colleagues assessed 63 patients (mean age 53.4) preoperatively and at a mean of 34.4 months after surgery.

The researchers found significant improvements in physical function and symptom severity scores (53 percent and 56.4 percent, respectively). But they also found significant increases in mean body weight and mean body mass index (2.48 kg and 0.83 kg/m2, respectively). Only 6 percent of patients lost at least 5 percent of their preoperative body weight compared to 59 percent who maintained their preoperative body weight, and 35 percent who gained at least 5 percent of their preoperative body weight.

"Weight loss following resolution of lower-extremity claudication symptoms may be an unrealistic expectation for patients," the authors conclude. "Patients should be counseled preoperatively and encouraged to participate in a weight reduction program before and after undergoing lumbar decompression surgery."

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