Role of obesity in less radiographic correction and worse health-related quality-of-life outcomes following minimally invasive deformity surgery.



Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for adult spinal deformity (ASD) can offer deformity correction with less tissue manipulation and damage. However, the impact of obesity on clinical outcomes and radiographic correction following MIS for ASD is poorly understood. The goal of this study was to determine the role, if any, that obesity has on radiographic correction and health-related quality-of-life measures in MIS for ASD.


Data were collected from a multicenter database of MIS for ASD. This was a retrospective review of a prospectively collected database. Patient inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years and coronal Cobb angle ≥ 20°, pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis mismatch ≥ 10°, or sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 5 cm. A group of patients with body mass index (BMI) < 30 kg/m2 was the control cohort; BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 was used to define obesity. Obesity cohorts were categorized into BMI 30-34.99 and BMI ≥ 35. All patients had at least 1 year of follow-up. Preoperative and postoperative health-related quality-of-life measures and radiographic parameters, as well as complications, were compared via statistical analysis.


A total of 106 patients were available for analysis (69 control, 17 in the BMI 30-34.99 group, and 20 in the BMI ≥ 35 group). The average BMI was 25.24 kg/m2 for the control group versus 32.46 kg/m2 (p < 0.001) and 39.5 kg/m2 (p < 0.001) for the obese groups. Preoperatively, the BMI 30-34.99 group had significantly more prior spine surgery (70.6% vs 42%, p = 0.04) and worse preoperative numeric rating scale leg scores (7.71 vs 5.08, p = 0.001). Postoperatively, the BMI 30-34.99 cohort had worse Oswestry Disability Index scores (33.86 vs 23.55, p = 0.028), greater improvement in numeric rating scale leg scores (-4.88 vs -2.71, p = 0.012), and worse SVA (51.34 vs 26.98, p = 0.042) at 1 year postoperatively. Preoperatively, the BMI ≥ 35 cohort had significantly worse frailty (4.5 vs 3.27, p = 0.001), Oswestry Disability Index scores (52.9 vs 44.83, p = 0.017), and T1 pelvic angle (26.82 vs 20.71, p = 0.038). Postoperatively, after controlling for differences in frailty, the BMI ≥ 35 cohort had significantly less improvement in their Scoliosis Research Society-22 outcomes questionnaire scores (0.603 vs 1.05, p = 0.025), higher SVA (64.71 vs 25.33, p = 0.015) and T1 pelvic angle (22.76 vs 15.48, p = 0.029), and less change in maximum Cobb angle (-3.93 vs -10.71, p = 0.034) at 1 year. The BMI 30-34.99 cohort had significantly more infections (11.8% vs 0%, p = 0.004). The BMI ≥ 35 cohort had significantly more implant complications (30% vs 11.8%, p = 0.014) and revision surgery within 90 days (5% vs 1.4%, p = 0.034).


Obese patients who undergo MIS for ASD have less correction of their deformity, worse quality-of-life outcomes, more implant complications and infections, and an increased rate of revision surgery compared with their nonobese counterparts, although both groups benefit from surgery. Appropriate counseling should be provided to obese patients.





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Publication Info

Than, Khoi D, Vikram A Mehta, Vivian Le, Jonah R Moss, Paul Park, Juan S Uribe, Robert K Eastlack, Dean Chou, et al. (2022). Role of obesity in less radiographic correction and worse health-related quality-of-life outcomes following minimally invasive deformity surgery. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine, 37(2). pp. 1–10. 10.3171/2021.12.spine21703 Retrieved from

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Khoi Duc Than

Professor of Neurosurgery

I chose to pursue neurosurgery as a career because of my fascination with the human nervous system. In medical school, I developed a keen interest in the diseases that afflict the brain and spine and gravitated towards the only field where I could help treat these diseases with my own hands. I focus on disorders of the spine where my first goal is to help patients avoid surgery if at all possible. If surgery is needed, I treat patients using the most advanced minimally invasive techniques available in order to minimize pain, blood loss, and hospital stay, while maximizing recovery, neurologic function, and quality of life. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am an avid sports fan and love to eat. I try to stay physically fit by going to the gym and playing ice hockey.

Peter Passias

Instructor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

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