Pre-Surgical Health Information
If your doctor is recommending surgery, and you are classified as being overweight, they may advise you to lose weight prior to your procedure to reduce the risk of serious complications that could occur during or after your surgery. It is important to become aware of these risks, and take the necessary steps to help minimize them before your surgery.
Many doctors will recommend weight loss intervention if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 40. BMI is a measure of the amount of body fat you have, based on your height and weight.
For an adult, the following BMI ranges apply:
|BMI Ranges||Weight Status|
|18 to 24||Normal|
|25 to 29||Overweight|
|30 to 39||Obese|
|40 to 49||Morbidly Obese|
Often times, obesity is correlated with other diseases and health conditions, including:
|• Cardiovascular Disease
• Heart Attack
• High Blood Pressure
• Type II Diabetes
• Obstructive Sleep Apnea
• Metabolic Syndrome
Is a group of health conditions that increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes, or having a stroke.
Five risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome include:
• Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
• Elevated Fasting Blood Sugar Levels
• High Triglycerides (Increase of fat in blood)
• Low HDL levels (“good” cholesterol)
• Abdominal Obesity or Larger Waistline (Excess fat in stomach region - “apple shape”)
To be classified as having metabolic syndrome, you must have 3 or more of the risk factors listed above.
If you are concerned that you may have one or more of these conditions, be sure to communicate with your doctor to manage and control your symptoms prior to surgery.
Increased Risk of Complications
There are always potential risks associated with surgery, however, these risks are greater for those patients that are overweight when compared to those of a healthy weight.
• Anesthesia – more difficult to safely administer
• Locating veins for general anesthesia, as well as necessary medications
• Insufficient oxygen and airflow monitoring due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea
• Difficulty delivering spinal and epidural nerve blocks due to positioning
• Operative Times – longer than normal, secondary to technical challenges, which can also greater your risk of complications during surgery; A longer time to regain consciousness following your procedure
• Increased Blood Loss
• Poor Wound Healing
• Heart Attack
• Diffculty Breathing
• Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
• Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
• Blood clots
Lesser Outcomes After Surgery
Joint replacements, meniscal and ligament repairs, as well as other surgical techniques, can significantly improve your quality of life by reducing your overall pain and discomfort, and bring you back to an active lifestyle. However, with obesity you may never reach your optimal level of functioning, gain full mobility, or reduce your pain completely from the increased impact on your joints and decreased overall healing time. In some cases, a secondary “revision” surgery may be necessary.
Reducing Your Risks
With many elective surgical procedures, it is common that your doctor will recommend conservative treatment options prior to surgery, such as weight management or physical therapy. This gives you the opportunity to lose the necessary weight before your procedure, in order to reduce your overall risks during and after surgery.
Losing weight is finding a balance between eating a nutritionally sound diet and exercising. In order to begin losing the weight, you must be willing to make significant lifestyle changes that occur before and after your surgery. This will further improve successful outcomes in the long-term.
Some great ways to get you started:
• Reducing your fat and caloric intake – limiting how much goes into your body, making sure you are getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-dairy, while eliminating unnecessary sugars – *see our nutrition guide for post-surgical patients for additional information
• Becoming more active – although you may be experiencing pain or discomfort, there are plenty of low impact activities, such as swimming or biking that will put less stress on your joints while still helping you lose weight