The Impact of Obesity on Surgeon Ratings and Patient-Reported Outcome Measures after Degenerative Cervical Spine Disease Surgery

Brenda Auffinger*, Sandi Lam, Jennifer Kraninger, Jingjing Shen, Ben Z. Roitberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective Obesity is a growing public health problem. A considerable number of patients undergoing cervical spine surgery are obese, but the correlation between obesity and surgical outcome is still unclear. In this study, we investigated the impact of body mass index (BMI) on patients' and surgeons' perception of spine surgery outcomes. Methods We analyzed a prospectively collected spine surgery registry with patient-reported outcome measures and surgeon ratings. Mixed-effects linear models and linear regression models were applied to investigate the relationship between different World Health Organization obesity classifications and surgical outcome. Results A total of 88 patients had surgery for degenerative cervical spine disease, with 97.72% follow-up at 3 months and 94.31% at 6 months postoperatively. Mean BMI was 27.92 ± 7.9 kg/m2; 28.57% were overweight (BMI 25-29.9), and 31.57% were obese (Class I obesity, BMI 30-34.9). We found a positive correlation between BMI and VAS at 6 months (R = 0.298, P < 0.05) and between BMI and change in Neck Disability Index (R = 0.385, P < 0.01), suggesting that obese patients had less improvement and more pain 6 months postoperatively than nonobese patients. Overweight patients had worse MCS values (R = -0.275, P < 0.05) and obese patients had worse visual analog scale values 6 months after surgery (R = 0.284, P < 0.03). Interestingly, surgeon ratings matched the aforementioned results. Patients with greater BMI had worse surgeon ratings 3 and 6 months postoperatively (R = 0.555, P < 0.05), whereas normal-weight patients had better outcomes when rated from the surgeon's perspective (R = -0.536, P < 0.05). Conclusion Obese patients had worse postoperative patient-reported outcome scores and less overall patient-rated improvement compared with nonobese patients. Patients with BMI >25 reported less improvement after surgery both in the patients' and in the surgeons' perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e345-e352
JournalWorld neurosurgery
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Body mass index
  • Degenerative cervical spine disease
  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Spine surgery outcomes
  • Surgeon ratings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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