Impact of Obesity on Lumbar Disc Herniation

  • Murtaza Ahmed Khan Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore
Keywords: Discectomy, Disc herniation, Laminectomy, Lumbar region, Obesity.


Background: Prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide and obese patients constitute a major portion of the spinal surgeon s practice. The patients with lumbar disc herniation present the most in the outpatient department of neurosurgery. Obesity not only leads to the disc herniation but also causes a surgeon a difficult ordeal while operating as it leads to more peri operative complications than normal weight patients. This cross-sectional study was planned to see the impact of obesity on lumbar disc herniation and its association with disease outcome.

Methodology   This study was conducted in the department of neurosurgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital/ Fatima Jinnah Medical University (N=604; Males: n=368 Females: n=236) from December 15th 2021 to July 31st 2022. From the prospective registry, patients undergoing unilateral fenestration and discectomy, bilateral partial laminectomy and discectomy, and endoscopic discectomy were identified with complete BMI data.

Results: In total 604 patients, 368 were males and 236 were females, with age range 25-55 years with ± 4.9 SD. Among these 187 (30.9%) were managed surgically while 417 (69.1%) patients were managed conservatively, which were assessed on VAS (Visual Analogue Score) and Sciatica Bothersomeness Index (SBI). Among them 87 patients (20.8%) patients were of normal weight, 145 (34.77%) were overweight and 185 (44.36%) were obese. Among187 patients who underwent surgery; 74 (39.5%) underwent unilateral fenestration and discectomy, 113 (60.4%) underwent bilateral partial laminectomy and discectomy whereas 16 patients (8.5%) underwent endoscopic discectomy. Lumber Disc Herniation (LDH) was more frequent in obese and overweight individuals than in normal-weight patients.

Conclusion It was observed that in obese and overweight patients, the severity of pain was more as compared to normal patients. Higher the BMI more the excruciating pain and more neurological were seen with increasing trend of numbness and radiculopathy. Hence, obesity may have a robust impact on lumbar disc herniation apart from other pathologies involved.  

Key words: Discectomy, Disc herniation, Laminectomy, Lumbar region, Obesity.

Original Articles