Obesity Status and Use of General Surgery Resources

Finan, Kelly R.; Leeth, Ruth R.; Ritchie, Gilbert; Vickers, Selwyn M.; Hawn, Mary T.
November 2005
American Surgeon;Nov/2005, Vol. 71 Issue 11, p963
Academic Journal
Obesity is a rapidly growing epidemic. This study assesses the impact of obesity on surgeon workload for general surgical services. A retrospective study of patients undergoing cholecystectomy, unilateral mastectomy, and colectomy between January 2000 and December 2003 was undertaken. Obesity was defined as body mass index ≥30. The proportion of obese patients was compared to the 2002 BRFSS obesity prevalence data for Alabama. Data were adjusted to control for potential confounders. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. A total of 1,385 patients were included in analysis. The prevalence of obesity in the study population was 35.5 per cent compared to the statewide prevalence of 25.2 per cent (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.51, 1.98). These data were stratified by procedure, age, and gender. The cholecystectomy group had a significantly higher proportion of obese for all age groups and female gender. The mastectomy group had a higher proportion of obese in the 45-64 age group. The stratified colectomy group did not reach statistical significance. There was no evidence of referral bias to explain these findings. This study demonstrates there is a greater use of general surgery services, particularly cholecystectomy and mastectomy, in obese patients than predicted by the prevalence of obesity in the population.


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