There are several factors to consider with morbid obesity and spine surgery. Besides facing complications from spine surgery, patients who are morbidly obese often have higher hospital costs and longer hospital stays than patients that are not morbidly obese. Individuals who are more than 100 pounds overweight are more likely to experience problems such as surgical closures not healing and spinal instrumentation failing. Spine surgery also may have a higher mortality rate for some patients who suffer from morbid obesity.
This does not mean that patients who are morbidly obese cannot have spine surgery. Presently, some physicians are requesting that these patients lose weight before undergoing spine surgery. However, since back and neck pain is typically the reason for spine surgery, it is hard for these individuals to exercise without suffering discomfort. For this reason, doctors recommend that patients with morbid obesity lose weight both before and after spine surgery to relieve back and neck pain.
Doctor Paul Saiz
Orthopedic Spine Surgeon
Las Cruces, New Mexico