Does Weight Control Impact on Surgery?

I opened my internal medicine practice when I was 32 years old and now I am 63.  I have treated a number of patients for almost all of these years and what has become very apparent to me is this:  As we all get older, it is almost inevitable that we will at some point, require some sort of surgery.   This can obviously range from a routine arthroscopic knee procedure to a full blown, emergent surgery for a cancer removal.  Personally, I have had two lower back operations.  I cannot think of a patient of mine over 60 that has not had some sort of surgical procedure.

Surgical procedures usually require some sort of anesthesia, an incision that requires wound care, medications post-op, being in either a hospital or outpatient surgical suite, etc.  So, the question:  Does poor weight control increase the risk of complications from having a surgical procedure?

The answer is an absolute “yes”.  Obesity and related co-morbidities increase the risk of adverse anesthesia events, post-operative infections, urinary tract infections and a number of other possible complications.  Additionally, the surgical procedure itself becomes more complicated for the operating surgeon.

Another point:  Obesity’s co-morbidities such as vascular blockage, cancers and other diseases will increase the risk of needing a surgical procedure(s) in the first place.

I know these are topics that none of us like to think about but nevertheless, the point:  One of the great byproducts of successful weight control is lowering the need for surgery AND improving outcomes if surgery is required.

Dr. Robert Posner One of the world’s leading medical weight loss researchers, Robert Posner, MD, operates his state-of-the-art weight loss clinic, Serotonin Plus, in the heart of Burke, Virginia, in the suburban Washington area.

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