The Effect of Obesity on Operating Room Utilization in Breast Surgery

Nalini Tata, Alexandria Byskosh, Irene Helenowski, Julie Dunderdale, Borko Jovanovic, Swati Kulkarni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The current obesity epidemic is associated with increased health care costs associated with comorbidities such as diabetes and heart disease as well as postoperative complications. However, the effect of obesity on operating room (OR) utilization, especially in common breast procedures, has not been completely evaluated. Our study is the first to examine the effect of patient obesity on operative time (OPT) for common breast procedures. Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project databases for 2010-2018 were searched for this retrospective review. Patients undergoing common breast operations (lumpectomy, lumpectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) (+/− injection), lumpectomy and axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), simple mastectomy, mastectomy with SLNB (+/− injection), and mastectomy with ALND) were filtered out by Current Procedural Terminology code and divided into three groups based on their body mass index (BMI) and weight. Using the two-sample t-test, OPT for the procedures was compared among the lowest and highest BMI and weight categories. We also used a linear regression t-test to demonstrate that for every unit increase in BMI, there was a corresponding increase in OPT for each procedure. Results: When the lowest and highest BMI and weight groups were compared, significant differences in OPT (P < 0.0001) were seen for each of the procedures. Numerous factors that could affect the complexity of surgery and thus OR time were identified. The correlation between BMI and weight and OPT remained significant after controlling for these variables. The differences between the highest and lowest BMI groups were most pronounced for higher complexity procedures, such as lumpectomy with ALND and mastectomy with ALND, with average operating times increasing by 18.2 min and 18.6 min, respectively, for patients with a higher BMI. Conclusions: Patient BMI and weight significantly affect OPT for common breast procedures. Therefore, patient BMI should be taken into account to improve OR scheduling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • BMI
  • Body mass index
  • Breast procedures
  • Breast surgery
  • Lumpectomy
  • Management
  • Mastectomy
  • Obesity
  • Operative time
  • Quality improvement
  • Scheduling
  • Surgery
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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