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ABSTRACT: The diagnosis, treatment, and postoperative care of morbidly obese patients undergoing spinal surgery require modifications for body habitus. With a growing percentage of the United States population becoming morbidly obese, the surgeon may need elective or emergency treatment plans that address the special needs of these patients. The authors retrospectively reviewed the diagnosis, treatment, and postoperative care of the severely obese patient undergoing spinal surgery.
To assess the associated results and complications of management that required modification for body habitus, 12 patients were included in the study (nine females); the mean age was 50 years and mean weight was 320 lb. Cases of cervical (two cases), thoracic (four cases), and lumbar surgeries (six cases) were included. The follow-up period ranged from 6 months to 2 years. Patients presented with myelopathy (five cases), radicular pain and weakness (four cases), radiculopathy (two cases), and cauda equina syndrome (one patient). Chronic progressive neurological deterioration secondary to spinal cord compression was demonstrated in nine patients and acute pain and/or weakness secondary to nerve root compression was observed in three patients.
The authors found that although morbidly obese patients may present late in the course of their symptoms and require modifications in the use of standard neuroimaging, operative facilities, and treatment plans, open mindedness and persistence can yield satisfactory results in most cases.
Journal of Neurosurgery 08/2002; 97(1 Suppl):20-4. · 3.23 Impact Factor