Increased Risk for Obese Patients in Breast Surgery

A recent study finds that obese women are nearly 12 times more likely than non-obese women to experience a complication during breast surgery, such as reduction, augmentation or reconstruction.

Authors of the study at Johns Hopkins University say they reviewed insurance claims of 2,403 obese patients and 5,597 normal weight patients who had breast procedures over a 4-year period.

Within 30 days of surgery, about 18 percent of the obese group had at least one complication, compared to only 2.2 percent of non-obese patients. Obese patients in the study were 22 times more likely to have inflammation; 13 times more likely to develop infection; and 11 times more likely to experience pain.

Breast reduction made up 80.7% of surgeries in the obese group and 63.8% in the non-obese group. Next was breast reconstruction, followed by breast augmentation and breast lift.

Johns Hopkins researchers recommended that patients be informed about the risk of obesity prior to breast surgery procedures, based on these findings.

To reduce the risk of breast surgery complications, patients may also be advised to get a baseline mammogram before surgery; stop smoking in advance of the surgery; and avoid certain anti-inflammatory drugs that could increase bleeding.

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