Baltimore — A Johns Hopkins study suggests that obese patients are nearly 12 times as likely to suffer a complication following elective plastic surgery as normal-weight patients, Medical News Today reports.
The study, led by Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H, associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, examined insurance claims data from seven Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans and identified patients who underwent elective breast procedures between 2002 and 2006. There were 2,403 patients in the obese group and 5,597 patients in the normal-weight control group.
Investigators found that within 30 days of surgery, 18.3 percent of the obese group experienced at least one complication, compared with 2.2 percent of normal-weight patients. The differences between the two groups were greatest in cases of inflammation, where obese patients were 22 times as likely to suffer a complication. They also were 13 times as likely to experience infection and 11 times as likely to report pain.
Medical News Today quotes Dr. Makary as saying, “Our data demonstrate that obesity is a major risk factor for complications following certain kinds of elective surgery.”