Body Mass Index does not Affect Postoperative Morbidity and Oncologic Outcomes of Total Mesorectal Excision for Rectal Adenocarcinoma

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IntroductionObesity adds to the technical difficulty of colorectal surgery and is a risk factor for postoperative complications. We hypothesized that obese patients have increased morbidity and poor oncologic outcomes after proctectomy for rectal adenocarcinoma.MethodsAdult patients undergoing total mesorectal excision (TME) for rectal adenocarcinoma at a tertiary referral center were retrospectively identified from a prospectively maintained database. Operative characteristics, postoperative complication rates, and oncologic outcomes were compared in patients with BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 and BMI < 30 kg/m2.ResultsBetween 1997 and 2009, 254 patients underwent proctectomy for rectal adenocarcinoma, of whom 27% were obese. There were no significant differences in demographics, comorbidities or preoperative oncologic characteristics between obese and nonobese groups. Patients with BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 had longer operative times (p = 0.04) and higher intraoperative blood loss (p < 0.001) but comparable postoperative complication rates (p = 0.80), number of lymph nodes retrieved (p = 0.57), margin-negative resections (p = 0.44), and disease-free survival (p = 0.11). Obese patients had longer overall survival (p = 0.05). Tumor stage was the only variable associated with disease-free (p < 0.001) and overall survival (p < 0.001).ConclusionDespite increased technical difficulty of resection, obesity does not increase the risk of postoperative morbidity or adversely affect oncologic outcomes after total mesorectal excision of rectal adenocarcinoma.

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