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The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 97-B, Issue 10 | Pages 1395 - 1404
1 Oct 2015
Lingutla KK Pollock R Benomran E Purushothaman B Kasis A Bhatia CK Krishna M Friesem T

The aim of this study was to determine whether obesity affects pain, surgical and functional outcomes following lumbar spinal fusion for low back pain (LBP).

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis was made of those studies that compared the outcome of lumbar spinal fusion for LBP in obese and non-obese patients. A total of 17 studies were included in the meta-analysis. There was no difference in the pain and functional outcomes. Lumbar spinal fusion in the obese patient resulted in a statistically significantly greater intra-operative blood loss (weighted mean difference: 54.04 ml; 95% confidence interval (CI) 15.08 to 93.00; n = 112; p = 0.007) more complications (odds ratio: 1.91; 95% CI 1.68 to 2.18; n = 43858; p < 0.001) and longer duration of surgery (25.75 mins; 95% CI 15.61 to 35.90; n = 258; p < 0.001). Obese patients have greater intra-operative blood loss, more complications and longer duration of surgery but pain and functional outcome are similar to non-obese patients. Based on these results, obesity is not a contraindication to lumbar spinal fusion.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1395–1404.