Pre-operative obesity does not predict poorer symptom control and quality of life after lumbar disc surgery

Paul M Brennan, James Loan, Neil Watson, Pragnesh M Bhatt, Peter Alwyn Bodkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

PURPOSE: We aimed to determine whether there was a difference in post-operative symptomatic control and quality of life (QoL) between patients who were obese (BMI >30) and non-obese (BMI <30) pre-operatively. This information may inform the decision making of Physicians and patients whether to proceed to surgery for management of symptomatic lumbar disc prolapse.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective questionnaire-based study of QoL and symptom control in 120 patients with postal follow-up at 3 and 12 months after lumbar disc surgery. This study was conducted in two United Kingdom regional neurosurgical units, with ethical approval from the North of Scotland Research Ethics Service (09/S0801/7).

RESULTS: 120 patients were recruited; 37 (34.5%) were obese. Follow up was 71% at 3 months and 57% at 12 months. At recruitment, both obese and non-obese patient groups had similar functional status and pain scores. At 3 and 12 months, non-obese and obese patients reported similar and significant benefits from surgery (e.g. 12 month SF-36 80.5 vs. 68.8, respectively). In non-obese and obese patients, time to return to work was 47.5 days and 53.8 days, respectively, (p = .345). After 12 months all QoL scores were significantly improved from pre-operative levels in both groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Obese patients derive significant benefit from lumbar discectomy that it is similar to the benefit experienced by non-obese patients. Obese individuals may achieve excellent results from discectomy and these patients should not be refused surgery on the basis of BMI alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Journal Article


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