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Peri- and postoperative management and outcomes of morbidly obese patients (BMI > 40 kg/m2) with gynaecological disease



For the last two decades, obesity rates have been increasing in both developed and developing countries, with the number of obese women roughly doubling during this period (Stevens et al. in Popul Health Metr 10(1):33, 2012). Obesity represents one of the biggest epidemics of the 21st century. The aim of this retrospective study is to characterise the outcomes of gynaecologic surgeries in cases of extremely obese women with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 kg/m2.


This study is a retrospective case control study in a single-centre setting. Our clinical database was searched for gynaecological operations performed on morbidly obese patients (BMI > 40 kg/m2) between 2009 and 2014 in the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Hannover Medical School. We matched these results with random patients of normal body weight who had similar surgical procedures and diseases.


We included 97 obese patients in our case group and 99 patients in the control group. We found an association between a strongly elevated BMI and peri- and postoperative morbidity. Both intraoperative and postoperative complications are significantly increased in morbid obesity with a BMI over > 40 kg/m2. We observed intraoperative complications in 55.6% and postoperative complications in 50.5% of patients with extreme obesity. In contrast, the complication rate in the control group with a normal BMI was 11% intraoperatively (p = 0.0001) and 3% postoperatively (p = 0.0001). The data showed that perioperative and postoperative morbidity could be reduced by laparoscopic surgery in many cases, with a significant lower rate of difficulties with closing the wound, a significant shorter duration of surgery and a significant lower rate of infections combined with a significant lower reoperation rate and shorter hospital stay. In gynaecological–oncological diseases, we could demonstrate a reduced radicality during the operative procedure due to extreme obesity.


Dealing with the growing number of obese patients is essential, because the problems emerging from obesity are manifold for the treating hospitals as well as the general health system. For this high-risk patient group, it is indispensable to obtain a thorough overview of the patient’s overall situation preoperatively to ensure good perioperative care and complications management.

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Author information




SK: Project development, Manuscript writing. HK: Data collection. HH: Data analysis. PH: Data management. IS: Protocol development. CS: Manuscript editing. PS: Project development, manuscript editing.

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Correspondence to Sudip Kundu.

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Kundu, S., Karakas, H., Hertel, H. et al. Peri- and postoperative management and outcomes of morbidly obese patients (BMI > 40 kg/m2) with gynaecological disease. Arch Gynecol Obstet 297, 1221–1233 (2018).

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  • Gynecology
  • Obesity
  • Surgery
  • Morbidity