A new study suggests that obese individuals, after undergoing colon surgery, are more likely to experience infections of the surgical site.
The researchers gathered 7,020 patients who had colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease or diverculitis. The subjects also underwent a partial or total colectomy, or removal of the colon, as a treatment for the diseases. Out of all of the subjects, 1,243 are obese.
The rate of post-operative infection of the surgical site was 9.5 percent among patients with normal weight. Among obese patients, however, the rate was much higher at 14.5 percent. Moreover, the researchers discussed that obese patients had 60 percent more chances of experiencing infections of the surgical site, compared to patients who are not obese.
Dr. Elizabeth C. Wick, from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, reinforced this issue by explaining that many obese patients indeed experience surgical site infections after colorectal surgeries.
Patients suffering from infection of the surgical site are also found to stay longer in the hospital. Long hospital stays are expected because the underlying infection needs to be treated, and controlled to keep it from spreading. More severe complications should be prevented.
Health care professionals, particularly surgeons and specialized nurses, should note how obesity becomes a risk factor for many post-operative complications. Every obese patient should have an individualized treatment plan to guarantee the good post-operative outcome.
Post-colectomy infections account for costly expenses, on top of the usual bills paid by patients for admission and prescription.
The study appears in the May issue of the Archives of Surgery.