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  • Raj M. Singh MD

Spinal Surgery is Less Effective in Overweight/Obese Patients



Obesity has been found to be an independent risk factor for developing back pain, sciatica, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. 


It is now also considered to be a risk factor for developing complications following a lumbar spinal procedure.


Current literature suggests that obese patients now represent nearly 35% of the United States population.


A significant amount of surgical procedures are performed in patients with a BMI over 35. 

According to a new study published in the Spine Journal this month, there is a significant increase in complications, specifically infection, in patients with BMI over 35 and even higher for patients with a  BMI over 40. 


Therefore, we strongly recommend weight loss and reduction of BMI as part of the nonsurgical management and to avoid complications if surgery is needed. 


Spine Journal, July 2018, Volume 18, Issue 7, pages 1204-1210. 

Body mass index predicts the risk of complications in lumbar spine surgery based on surgical invasiveness. 

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©2019 by Dr. Raj M. Singh, MD.