News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Obesity increases risks when having surgery

Obesity increases risks when having surgery

As well as increasing the need for surgery, obesity increases the complications associated with having anaesthesia for surgery, says specialist anaesthetist Dr Nigel Robertson, speaking today (Monday, June 9) in support of the New Zealand Medical Association’s (NZMA) call for a co-ordinated approach to tackling obesity in New Zealand.

In a major policy statement, the NZMA says obesity represents a public health crisis with major implications for New Zealanders’ health and well being, as well as the future sustainability of its health system.

Dr Robertson is the Chair of the New Zealand National Committee of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. He says that anaesthetists have been concerned for some time at the increasing number of obese patients on operating lists.

“Obese patients provide significant challenges for us.

“Obesity is associated with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnoea syndrome, where breathing is significantly impaired during sleep, ultimately leading to serious heart conditions that increase risk at the time of surgery.

“Complications of obesity in the operating room can include difficulty with intravenous line insertion in very large limbs, airway and breathing management, positioning for anaesthesia and surgery, and breathing in the early recovery phase.

“Post-operative complications such as respiratory failure, pneumonia and blood clots in the legs are also more common in the obese, as well as a much higher rate of heart attack, peripheral nerve injury, wound infection and urinary tract infection.

“Already patients due to have bariatric (weight loss) surgery are asked to follow a strict diet before surgery to help alleviate the associated risks and show they are serious about weight loss.

“Maybe it is time for other patients who are overweight or obese to be asked to try to lose weight before elective surgery. Even a small weight loss is beneficial, especially if patients can also undertake light exercise such as a 30-minute walk each day before surgery.

“As the NZMA says, we all have a responsibility as doctors to engage with patients who are obese as even brief interventions can lead to at least short-term changes in behaviour and body weight. This can decrease the risks associated with their surgery and their anaesthesia, and assist their recovery.

“As anaesthetists, we support the call for a co-ordinated approach to stemming what is becoming an epidemic of obesity in this country,” Dr Robertson says.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Leonardo da Vinci - The Graphic Work

The breadth of da Vinci’s work is incredible: from animals to weaponry, architecture to fabric, maps to botany. The works have been divided into themes such as Proportion Drawings, Anatomical Drawings and Drawings of Maps and Plans. Each section begins with a short essay. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: James Hector: Explorer, Scientist, Leader

Publication of this comprehensive 274-page account of the life and work of James Hector by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand marks the 150th anniversary of James Hector’s appointment as New Zealand’s first government scientist. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news