The Importance of Weight Control Before Spine Surgery

If you’re anticipating spine surgery, we’re here to tell you that the success of your procedure isn’t entirely dependent on your surgeon.

You play a part.  That’s especially true when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.  If you’re overweight, we’re sure you’ve already been told that you’ll need to reduce before your surgery.

The process doesn’t have to be a burden.  It can, in fact, lead to a new, healthier lifestyle to enhance the effects of your surgery.  But there are more serious considerations you should be aware of, concerning the importance of weight control before spine surgery.

Surgical Success Rates

A recent study has revealed what most of us probably already suspect – overweight patients don’t enjoy the same surgical success rates as patients of normal weight undergoing the same procedures.

For example, 32% of overweight patients undergoing spine surgery encountered complications.  Those who were substantially overweight had an almost 80% complication rate.  These are sobering statistics that point to a direct correlation between excessive weight and problems encountered during and after spinal procedures.

Infection Rates

Controlling or reducing your weight prior to surgery can also significantly reduce the risk of infection.  Overweight patients encountered twice the rate of incision infection as patients of normal weight.  That rate, the study found, doubled in patients who were significantly overweight.

Related was the rate at which overweight patients experienced the incision site re-opening.  These patients suffered their incisions re-opening 2.5 times more often than patients of normal weight.

Re-admission, Delayed Recovery, & Costs

Surgery is enough of a life event without having to relive it, so this one will most likely get your attention.  Overweight patients experienced a much higher rate of re-admission to hospital following their surgery within only 30 days.  They also spent more time in a hospital than patients of normal weight.

There’s even worse news for people who are significantly overweight.  The cost of their surgery and recovery was higher by an average $8,000.

What You Can Do

We know you’re having spine surgery because you’re in pain.  But talk to your surgeon.  He or she can suggest moderate exercise to prepare your body for the procedure, as well as help you maintain or reduce your weight.  Swimming or walking (even with a mobility aid like a walker) can help a lot.  Gentle exercise will also build up your muscles and immunity.

Further, your surgeon will be happy to advise you with respect to proper nutrition in the run up to your surgery.

Can you live without some of the empty calories modern life is so full of?  Reducing your intake of fried foods, fast foods, overly processed foods and soft drinks will help you keep your weight down and even reduce it before undergoing spine surgery.

Your weight can adversely affect your surgical outcome.  It can cost you money, lead to infection and delay your recovery.  All these potential consequences are compelling factors which point to the importance of weight control before spine surgery.

Contact Advanced Spine for more information.