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Why Do You Need to Lose Weight Before Orthopedic Surgery?

Why Do You Need to Lose Weight Before Orthopedic Surgery?

Dr. Dan Albright, an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina discusses the risks involved with surgery when a patient is morbidly obese. Dr. Albright defines morbidly obese using Body Mass Index (BMI). Dr. Albright lays out the weight loss goal to make surgery safer for the patient.

For more information, contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.

Summary of video:

So why is it important to lose weight before orthopedic surgery? If you’re a little overweight, it’s not important, that’s fine, but if you have substantial excess weight it makes the surgery much harder. It also makes it riskier.

People who approach morbid obesity or have substantial excess weight get more blood clots with many orthopedic surgeries. They get more infections. They bleed more. The surgery is just technically harder to do. They get more pneumonias and pressure sores. Rehabilitation therapy after is tougher and slower. There are a lot of medical aspects to this where substantially extra amounts of weight makes the whole surgery business tougher and more dangerous. As a surgeon there is a real interest in you losing weight before surgery.

So how much weight do you have to lose? Again if you’re a little overweight that does not matter the surgery can be done, no problem. Surgeons go by body mass index that’s BMI. If you have a body mass index of 40 – that’s morbidly obese and that’s starting to get dangerous for surgery. If your body mass index is over 40, you need to reduce it preferably close to 30.

Around the country more and more surgeons will not operate on patients with BMIs over 40. That’s an important number to know and that’ll guide you in how much weight you need to lose.


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