Obesity increases risk of complications after surgeries, study finds

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Obesity is a complex and widespread health issue in the United States, affecting almost 42% of adults.

While the health impacts of obesity, such as heart disease and diabetes, are well-recognized, new research highlights its association with increased postoperative complications following surgery.

This includes complications like infection, blood clots, and kidney issues.

The Study’s Findings

Researchers conducted a study using data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, which included over 5.5 million patients undergoing surgery.

The study focused on nine surgical specialties and compared pre-operative characteristics and post-operative outcomes within different body mass index (BMI) classes.

The study’s key findings include:

Increased Risk of Complications: Patients with overweight or obesity had higher risk-adjusted odds of developing infection, kidney failure, and venous thromboembolism (blood clots) following surgery compared to patients with normal weight.

Risk Correlation with BMI: The risk of complications increased with higher BMI categories, particularly in patients with obesity class III (BMI ≥ 40kg/m²).

Extended Surgery Duration: Surgery times were, on average, six minutes longer for patients with obesity, which can contribute to increased surgical complexity.

Challenges in Immediate Recovery: Patients with overweight or obesity may face greater challenges in immediate post-surgery recovery.

Factors like mobility and ambulation can be more difficult for these patients, potentially impacting recovery outcomes.

The study’s findings underscore the broader public health issue posed by obesity.

While clinicians must have sensitive conversations with patients about obesity and its impact on surgical outcomes, addressing obesity requires a multi-level approach involving local, state, and national efforts.


Obesity is not only a significant health concern on its own but also increases the risk of complications following surgery.

This research emphasizes the importance of recognizing obesity’s broader impact on health outcomes and the need for comprehensive strategies to address this complex issue.

If you care about weight loss, please read studies about the keto diet for weight loss: Pros and cons, and how to drink water to lose weight.

For more information about weight loss, please see recent studies about best cheeses to improve diabetes and lose weight, and results showing gastric sleeve weight-loss surgery: a real story.

The research findings can be found in Surgery.

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