Obesity and surgical site infections

Abstracts being presented at a national GI meeting this week demonstrate the impact of obesity on surgical complications. One study found that patients with a waist circumference of 45 inches or more were three times more likely to develop a surgical site infection after rectal cancer surgery. The authors of another study demonstrate increased surgical complications in obese patients and go on to criticize pay-for-performance programs that reward surgeons for better outcomes given that a patient's obesity is out of the surgeon's control. Moreover, they claim that since obesity is more common among minority patients, these policies may have adverse unintended consequences that result in discrimination.


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