Increased risk of infection in obese adolescents after pedicle screw instrumentation for idiopathic scoliosis

Chhavi Katyal, Seth Grossman, Aviva Dworkin, Lewis Singer, Terry Amaral, Etan Sugarman, Adam Wollowick, Vishal Sarwahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Study Design Original research. Objective To evaluate perioperative risk factors associated with obesity in children undergoing posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The authors hypothesized that patients with a high body mass index (BMI) percentile would be associated with increased morbidity as measured by various intraoperative parameters. Summary of Background Data Few studies have evaluated the effects of increased BMI in children undergoing surgery. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis represents 80% of idiopathic scoliosis cases and is the most common indication for surgery. Methods Patients were divided into 3 groups: normal weight (n = 144) (5% < BMI < 85%), overweight (n = 25) (BMI > 85% to 95%), and obese (n = 38) (BMI > 95%). Patients with BMI less than 5% were excluded from this study because they were underweight. Perioperative data were collected and analyzed based on differences between groups. Results A total of 207 patients were included in this study. There was a significant difference in the length of anesthesia (p =.032). The rate of infection was 11% in the obese group, 12% in the overweight group, and 3% in the normal weight group (p =.03). Conclusions Even with pedicle screw instrumentation, the researchers saw an increase in infection in overweight and obese patients. Patients should be counseled before surgery for weight loss to limit surgical complications such as possible risk of postoperative wound infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-171
Number of pages6
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Adolescents
  • BMI
  • Infection
  • Obesity
  • Scoliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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