What are the Post Operative Complications in Obese People?

There is little reliable information in the literature about the consequences of performing surgical procedures on obese and overweight people. 65 percent of the American population are overweight.

In this context, researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, have found that intra-abdominal fat increases the risk of complications after major liver surgery. The results of their findings are published in the November 2010 issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

How Intra-abdominal Fat and Post Operative Complications are Related?

  • The researchers studied a population of 349 patients who underwent partial liver resection between June 1996 and November 2001.
  • The Computed tomographic (CT) scans of these patients prior to the surgery were analyzed to measure the amount of fat around their kidneys, which in turn gave an idea of the intra-abdominal and outer abdominal fat.
  • The database of thecancer center was used to find the complications of in these patients after the surgery.
  • 230 patients who comprised 65.9 percent of the participants had problems after the surgery.
  • Nine patients (making 2.6 percent) lost their lives and the hospital stay increased by 10.8 days on average after the operation.
  • However, high body mass index (BMI) or appearing overweight were not found to be linked to increased post-surgical risks.
  • Those with increased intra-abdominal fat were at the risk of dying within 30 days when compared to patients with low fat.


The study lays emphasis on carrying out computed tomography scan to find perinephric fat levels prior to a surgery in obese people. The BMI factor alone was not found to be reliable enough in deciding the post operative complications associated with surgery in obese people.


1.Simple Measurement of Intra-abdominal Fat for Abdominal Surgery Outcome Prediction

2. Overweight and obesity trends in America; CDC; 2012:

3. Asian Cardiovasc Thorac Ann 2008;16:463-467 Effect of Body Mass Index on Perioperative Complications in Thoracic Surgery
Ryuichi Suemitsu, MD, Taro Sakoguchi, MD1, Keiko Morikawa, MD1, Masafumi Yamaguchi, MD, Hiroyuki Tanaka, MD1, Sadanori Takeo, MD

4. The Risks of Surgery in Obese Patients, PATRICK S. PASULKA M.D.;,BRUCE R. BISTRIAN M.D., Ph.D.PETER N. BENOTTIM.D.; and GEORGE L. BLACKBURNM.D., PhD; Annals of Internal Medicine. April 1, 1986 vol. 104 no. 4 540-546.http://www.annals.org/content/104/4/540.abstract

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