Tamara Herold, Ralph Kothe, Christoph J. Siepe, Oliver Heese, Wolfgang Hitzl, Andreas Korge, Karin Wuertz-Kozak

April 2021, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 936 - 945 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06765-9

First Online: 27 February 2021


Decompression is one of the most common interventions in spinal surgery. Obesity has become an increasing issue in surgical patients. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze the clinical outcome following lumbar microsurgical decompression in correlation with the patient’s body mass index (BMI).

Materials and methods

A toal of 744 patients with spinal claudication that were seen at two specialized spine centers were included in this study. All patients underwent a bilateral microsurgical decompression in over-the-top technique. Patients were allocated in 4 groups based in their BMI category: 18.5–24.9 (n = 204), 25.0–29.9 (n = 318), 30.0–34.9 (n = 164) and ≥ 35 (n = 58). Clinical outcome data were recorded at baseline as well as 3, 12 and 24 months thereafter within a prospective study framework. The minimum follow-up was 12 months. For statistical analysis, data were adjusted for age, length of surgery and ASA and were analyzed by generalized linear gamma-based models.


Postoperative changes in all outcome parameters were clearly dependent on BMI. Patients with higher BMI were characterized by inferior baseline values for VAS Back (p 


The data obtained from this large, homogenous cohort demonstrate that the quality of life improved substantially in all patients that were treated microsurgically for spinal stenosis. However, a BMI ≥ 30 may be considered as a negative predictor for a significantly inferior clinical outcome.

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