Laparoscopic colorectal surgery in obese and nonobese patients: Do differences in body mass indices lead to different outcomes?

  • O. Schwandner
  • S. Farke
  • T. H. K. Schiedeck
  • H.-P. Bruch
Original article



The aim of this prospective study was to compare the outcome of laparoscopic colorectal surgery in obese and nonobese patients.


All patients who underwent laparoscopic surgery for both benign and malignant disease within the past 5 years were entered into the prospective database registry. Body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) was used as the objective measure to indicate morbid obesity. Patients with a BMI >30 were defined as obese, and patients with a BMI <30 were defined as nonobese. The parameters analyzed included age, gender, comorbid conditions, diagnosis, procedure, duration of surgery, transfusion requirements, conversion rate, overall morbidity rate including major complications (requiring reoperation), minor complications (conservative treatment) and late-onset complications (postdischarge), stay on intensive case unit, hospitalization, and mortality. For objective evaluation, only laparoscopically completed procedures were analyzed. Statistics included Student’s t test and chi-square analysis. Statistical significance was assessed at the 5% level (p < 0. 05 statistically significant).


A total of 589 patients were evaluated, including 95 patients in the obese group and 494 patients in the nonobese group. There was no significant difference in conversion rate (7.3% in the obese group vs 9.5% in the nonobese group, p > 0.05) so that the laparoscopic completion rate was 90.5% (n = 86) in the obese and 92.7% (n = 458) in the nonobese group. The rate of females was significantly lower among obese patients (55.8% in the obese group vs 74.2% in the nonobese group, p = 0.001). No significant differences were observed with respect to age, diagnosis, procedure, duration of surgery, and transfusion requirements (p > 0.05). In terms of morbidity, there were no significant differences related to overall complication rates with respect to BMI (23.3% in the obese group vs 24.5% in the nonobese group, p > 0.05). Major complications were more common in the obese group without showing statistical significance (12.8% in the obese group vs 6.6% in the nonobese group, p = 0.078). Conversely, minor complications were more frequently documented in the nonobese group (8.1% in the obese group vs 15.5% in the nonobese group, p = 0.080). In the postoperative course, no differences were documented in terms of return of bowel function, duration of analgesics required, oral feeding, and length of hospitalization (p > 0.05).


These data indicate that laparoscopic colorectal surgery is feasible and effective in both obese and nonobese patients. Obese patients who are thought to be at increased risk of postoperative morbidity have the similar benefit of laparoscopic surgery as nonobese patients with colorectal disease.


Laparoscopic surgery Colorectal surgery Obesity Conversion Morbidity 



Preparation of the manuscript was performed during a clinical observership by O. Schwandner the author at the Department of Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Florida supported by a grant from the Stiftung Coloplast, Hamburg, Germany.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Schwandner
    • 1
  • S. Farke
    • 1
  • T. H. K. Schiedeck
    • 1
  • H.-P. Bruch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus LuebeckLuebeckGermany

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