Obesity could cause increased healthcare costs after plastic surgery

1 May 2015

Obese patients have more complications after common plastic surgery procedures, a new study has suggested.

The research, published in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), also found that healthcare costs could be higher for patients who are significantly overweight. This was apparent even after accounting for a higher rate of other medical conditions.

"Overweight and obese patients remained 35 per cent more likely to have an emergency department visit or hospital admission within 30 days of surgery," said Dr Michelle R. Sieffert, from Wright State University, Ohio.

The team used ambulatory surgery databases from four states to identify nearly 48,000 adult patients undergoing common cosmetic plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction, breast reduction, or blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).

They found that four per cent of patients were classified as obese, based on body mass index. The obese patients had higher rates of other types of "comorbid" medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that within 30 days of the procedure, 7.3 per cent of obese patients had to go to the emergency department visit or were admitted to the hospital. In contrast, just 3.9 per cent of patients who weren't obese were in the same position.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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