Critical care of obese patients during and after spine surgery

World J Crit Care Med. 2016 Feb 4;5(1):83-8. doi: 10.5492/wjccm.v5.i1.83.


Obesity is one of the most prevalent health problems facing the United States today, with a recent JAMA article published in 2014 estimating the prevalence of one third of all adults in the United States being obese. Also, due to technological advancements, the incidence of spine surgeries is growing. Considering these overall increases in both obesity and the performance of spinal surgeries, it can be inferred that more spinal surgery candidates will be obese. Due to this, certain factors must be taken into consideration when dealing with spine surgeries in the obese. Obesity is closely correlated with additional medical comorbidities, including hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and diabetes mellitus. The pre-operative evaluation may be more difficult, as a more extensive medical evaluation may be needed. Also, adequate radiographic images can be difficult to obtain due to patient size and equipment limitations. Administering anesthesia becomes more difficult, as does proper patient positioning. Post-operatively, the obese patient is at greater risk for reintubation, difficulty with pain control, wound infection and deep vein thrombosis. However, despite these concerns, appropriate clinical outcomes can still be achieved in the obese spine surgical candidate. Obesity, therefore, is not a contraindication to spine surgery, and appropriate patient selection remains the key to obtaining favorable clinical outcomes.

Keywords: Critical care; Obesity; Spine sugary.

Publication types

  • Review