-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Obese patients are at a
significantly increased risk for surgical site infections after
undergoing partial or full removal of the colon, a new study
It included 7,020 patients, aged 18 to 64, who had either
partial or total colectomy for colon cancer, diverticulitis or
inflammatory bowel disease between 2002 and 2008. Of those
patients, 1,243 were obese.
The overall rate of surgical site infections was 10.3 percent,
but the rate was higher in obese patients (14.5 percent) than in
non-obese patients (9.5 percent). After adjusting for a number of
factors, the researchers calculated that obese patients were 60
percent more likely to develop surgical site infections than
The average cost of colectomy for all the patients was $16,399,
but the average cost for obese patients was about $295 more than
for non-obese patients.
The researchers also found that surgical site infections greatly
increased the cost of the procedure. The average total cost for
patients who developed surgical site infections was $31,933,
compared to $14,608 for patients without infection.
Patients with surgical site infections also had longer average
hospital stays (9.5 days vs. 8.1 days) and a much higher rate of
hospital readmission (27.8 percent vs. 6.8 percent).
"We conclude that patients undergoing colorectal surgery who develop SSIs [surgical site infections], many of whom are obese, tax the health-care system," wrote Dr. Elizabeth C. Wick, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues.
Incentive programs that reward surgeons for keeping costs down
and improving patient outcomes should take into account that obese
people are at higher risk of infection, according to the
The study appears in the May issue of the
Archives of Surgery.
The University of Chicago Medical Center has more about
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