Effect of body mass index on surgical outcomes after posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jonathan Nakhla, Rani Nasser, Jacob F. Schulz, Taylor E. Purvis, Daniel M. Sciubba, Merritt D. Kinon, Reza Yassari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Obesity is an increasing public health concern in the pediatric population. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the impact of body mass index (BMI) on 30-day outcomes after posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). METHODS The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric database (2013 and 2014) was reviewed. Patients 10-18 years of age who had undergone fusion of 7 or more spinal levels for AIS were included. Thirty-day outcomes (complications, readmissions, and reoperations) were compared based on patient BMI per age- and sex-adjusted growth charts as follows: normal weight (NW; BMI < 85th percentile), overweight (OW; BMI 85th-95th percentile), and obese (OB; BMI > 95th percentile). RESULTS Patients eligible for study numbered 2712 (80.1% female and 19.9% male) and had a mean age of 14.4 ± 1.8 years. Average BMI for the entire cohort was 21.9 ± 5.0 kg/m2; 2010 patients (74.1%) were classified as NW, 345 (12.7%) as OW, and 357 (13.2%) as OB. The overall complication rate was 1.3% (36/2712). For NW and OW patients, the complication rate was 0.9% in each group; for OB patients, the rate was 4.2% (p < 0.001). The 30-day readmission rate was 2.0% (55/2712) for all patients, 1.6% for NW patients, 1.2% for OW patients, and 5.0% for OB patients (p < 0.001). The 30-day reoperation rate was 1.4% (39/2712). Based on BMI, this reoperation rate corresponded to 0.9%, 1.2%, and 4.8% for NW, OW, and OB patients, respectively (p < 0.001). After controlling for patient age, number of spinal levels fused, and operative/anesthesia time on multiple logistic regression analysis, obesity remained a significant risk factor for complications (OR 4.61), readmissions (OR 3.16), and reoperations (OR 5.33; all p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS Body mass index may be significantly associated with short-term outcomes after long-segment fusion procedures for AIS. Although NW and OW patients may have similar 30-day outcomes, OB patients had significantly higher wound complication, readmission, and reoperation rates and longer hospital stays than the NW patients. The findings of this study may help spine surgeons and patients in terms of preoperative risk stratification and perioperative expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE5
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • Complications
  • Obesity
  • Pediatrics
  • Spinal deformity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of body mass index on surgical outcomes after posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this