The correlation between obesity and incidence of complications in spine surgery is unclear, with some reports suggesting linear relationships between body mass index (BMI) and complication incidence and others noting no relationship.The purpose of this article was to assess the relationship between obesity and occurrence of perioperative complications in an elective thoracolumbar surgery cohort.Prospective observational cohort study at a tertiary care facility.Cohort of 87 consecutive patients undergoing elective surgery for degenerative thoracolumbar pathologies over a 6-month period (May to December 2008).Incidence of perioperative complications (those occurring within 30 days of surgery).A prospective assessment of perioperative spine surgery complications was completed, and data were prospectively entered into a central database. Two independent auditors assessed for the presence and severity of perioperative complications. Previously validated binary definitions of major and minor complications were used. Patient data and early complications (those occurring within 30 days of index surgery) were analyzed using multivariate regression.Mean BMI in this cohort was 31.3; 40.8% of patients were obese (BMI>30) and 10 patients (11.5%) were morbidly obese (BMI>40). The overall complication incidence was 67%. Minor complications occurred in 50% of patients, and major complications occurred in 17.8% of patients. No positioning palsies occurred in this series. Age correlated with an increase in complication risk (p=.006) as did hypertension (p=.004) and performance of a fusion (p<.0001). BMI did not correlate with the incidence of minor, major, or any complications (p=.58).This prospective assessment of perioperative complications in elective degenerative thoracolumbar procedures shows no relationship between patient BMI and the incidence of perioperative minor or major complications. Specific care in perioperative positioning may limit the risk of perioperative positioning palsies in obese patients.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.spinee.2010.03.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000279858800002
View details for PubMedID 20409758