Does Weight Complicate Lumbar Spine Surgery?

Medically Reviewed by NJ Spine & Orthopedic on October 27, 2023
For people with various spinal disorders, lumbar spine surgery is a crucial medical procedure that seeks to reduce discomfort and restore function. Although the effectiveness of these treatments has substantially increased over time, the effects of obesity on the results of lumbar spine surgery continue to be a source of concern.
What is the link between weight and lumbar spine surgery? About 1 in 3 Americans are obese, which has been related to several illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Obesity is linked to difficulties during surgery and places a higher financial load on the healthcare system. Our team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help reduce any potential complications during surgery by meeting with you to devise a detailed treatment plan.

Obesity’s Impact on Lumbar Spine Surgery

Unhealthy weight has repeatedly been associated with a higher risk of many medical conditions. Overweight patients may face several difficulties following lumbar spine surgery, including:

  • Obesity-related stress on the spine might speed up the deterioration of spinal features and elevate pain levels.
  • Obese people may have mobility issues, which makes the post-surgery rehabilitation process more difficult.
  • Extra adipose tissue in the abdomen can make it more difficult to see and manipulate the necessary areas during the surgical procedure, resulting in a higher risk of complications.
  • Obesity frequently worsens surgically necessary disorders, like herniated discs and degenerative disc disorder.

Compared to non-obese patients, obese individuals receiving laminectomy or lumbar fusion had a higher risk of complications and the need for additional surgery.

How to Reduce Risks of Spine Surgery Complications

A multidisciplinary approach is essential for enhancing results and lowering risks related to lumbar spine surgery in obese individuals. The likelihood of success can be significantly increased by preoperatively optimizing the patient’s overall health, including weight management, and controlling comorbid disorders.

To overcome the difficulties extra fatty tissue presents during surgery, doctors must also use specialized methods and tools. A quicker recovery can be achieved with careful monitoring and rehabilitation programs catered to the patient’s needs after surgery.

Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery an Option?

Due to its potential advantages, such as smaller incisions, less tissue stress, and quicker recovery times, minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) has lately gained prominence. MISS can provide several benefits for obese patients who need lumbar spine surgery, such as: 

  • Obese individuals can notably benefit from MISS operations since they utilize smaller incisions, which lower the risk of infections and wound problems.
  • Additionally, MISS approaches enable better surgical site vision even in individuals with extra fatty tissue. With this improved visualization, surgeons can make precise movements, enhancing the chances of a successful operation.

Although minimally invasive procedures cannot be used to treat all lumbar spine disorders, they should be considered when appropriate for obese individuals to reduce the surgical risks of obesity.

How Can NJ Spine & Orthopedic Help?

Weight-related effects on lumbar spine surgery can be complicated. Obesity can make it more difficult to access the surgical site, raise the chance of surgical site infections, and perhaps even lower surgical success rates. Speaking with knowledgeable specialists who can collaborate to develop tailored treatment plans is critical.

Our spine surgeons at NJ Spine & Orthopedic are committed to providing each patient with the best possible outcomes by utilizing cutting-edge tools and techniques so that you can resume your regular activities much sooner. Call us at (866) 553-0612 for more details about lumbar spine surgery, or reach out to us online to meet with one of our skilled spine doctors. We look forward to speaking with you and sharing more about how our patient-centered approach may help you get the finest results.

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