The relationship between obesity and surgery

Could you be denied surgery because of your weight?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 69 percent of U.S. adults are overweight, and 36 percent of those people are obese. That’s nearly three-fourths of our population. Obesity is a major contributing factor to many health issues, from diabetes to heart disease to sleep apnea to back and joint problems, said Krista Solarek, physician assistant at ThedaCare Orthopedic Care in Berlin. The measure most commonly used to determine one’s weight range is Body Mass Index (BMI). That number is based on the ratio of one’s height to weight. You can search online for BMI Charts to determine your BMI. The National Institutes of Health NIH lists the following BMI categories: Under 18.5 – Underweight; 18.5-24.9 – Normal; 25-29.9 – Overweight; 30 or higher – Obese The NIH further breaks down the categories of obesity as follows: Class I – 30 – 34.9 – Obese; Class II – 35-39.9 – Morbidly obese; Class III – 40 and above – Super morbidly obese. Being obese could cause you to be denied as a candidate for surgery. “More and more hospitals are setting BMI limits as to what patients they can safely operate on,” Solarek said. “When it comes to elective surgeries, such as joint replacements, knee arthroscopies, carpal tunnel, or rotator cuff repairs, being overweight not only makes the surgery more difficult to perform, but also it increases the risk of infection and failure of hardware.”

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