Waist Circumference Predicts Increased Complications in Rectal Cancer Surgery

Courtney J. Balentine, Celia N. Robinson, Christy R. Marshall, Jonathan Wilks, William Buitrago, Kujtim Haderxhanaj, Shubhada Sansgiry, Nancy J. Petersen, Vivek Bansal, Daniel Albo, David H. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: The impact of obesity on development of postoperative complications after gastrointestinal surgery remains controversial. This may be due to the fact that obesity has been calculated by body mass index, a measure that does not account for fat distribution. We hypothesized that waist circumference, a measure of central obesity, would better predict complications after high-risk gastrointestinal procedures. Methods: Retrospective review of an institutional cancer database identified consecutive cases of men undergoing elective rectal resections. Waist circumference was calculated from preoperative imaging. Results: From 2002 to 2009, 152 patients with mean age 65.2 ± 0.75 years and body mass index 28.0 ± 0.43 kg/m2 underwent elective resection of rectal adenoma or carcinoma. Increasing body mass index was not significantly associated with risk of postoperative complications including infection, dehiscence, and reoperation. Greater waist circumference independently predicted increased risk of superficial infections (OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.19-3.30, p < 0.008) and a significantly greater risk of having one or more postoperative complications (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.04-2.34, p < 0.034). Conclusions: Waist circumference, a measure of central obesity, is a better predictor of short-term complications than body mass index and can be used to identify patients who may benefit from more aggressive infection control and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1669-1679
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Obesity
  • Rectal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Waist Circumference Predicts Increased Complications in Rectal Cancer Surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this