Obesity's Effect on Anterior Spine Surgery Examined

Obese, non-obese patients have similar rates of blood loss, complications, length of hospitalization

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Obese patients undergoing anterior lumbar surgery may have similar complications and time to ambulation as non-obese patients, according to research published in the September issue of The Spine Journal.

Chan W.B. Peng, M.D., of the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from 74 patients who underwent anterior retroperitoneal lumbar disc procedures from May 2007 to January 2008. Based on body mass index, 33 patients were considered obese. The mean age was 46.6 years.

The researchers found that obese patients had a longer duration of anterior exposure, duration of entire anterior surgery, longer anterior incision, and greater depth from skin to fascia and fascia to spine. However, the rate of minor complications (such as urinary tract infections) and major complications (such as iliac vein lacerations) wasn't significantly different. The authors further note that the groups weren't significantly different in terms of blood loss, length of hospitalization, or time to ambulation.

"Obese patients have similar surgical outcomes in terms of blood loss, analgesic use, length of time to ambulation, and length of hospitalization when compared with non-obese patients for anterior lumbar surgery. Although the anterior approach to the lumbar spine is associated with many potential complications, we found that obesity is not related to an increased risk. This study is important as anterior lumbar surgery is common and obesity is a major medical issue," the authors conclude.

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