Answers to Common General Surgery Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about general surgery.

Could surgery be postponed because of my weight?

Dr. Scott Wilcher discusses whether surgery can be postponed because of weight. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Could surgery be postponed because of my weight?

There are times when I will postpone surgery until someone can lose weight. The most common thing I see as a general surgeon is people who have incisional hernias, hernias from previous surgeries. Those people, I really want to get their BMI's less than 40. So when they come in and they're morbidly obese with a BMI of greater than 40, I will say, we need to get your weight down before we fix the hernia. And the reason for that is that there is a much higher complication rate, a much higher mesh infection rate and a much higher recurrence of the hernia rate if you do the surgery while they're that overweight. So ideally, what we do is get their weight down and then do the surgery. Now, sometimes, it's an emergency. They have an obstruction and it has to be fixed emergently and then you do what you gotta do.


Sometimes your surgery can be postponed because of your weight, especially for hernia surgeries, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

If your body mass index (BMI) is higher than 35 or 40, your risk of complications, including infections, is greater.

So, your surgery might be postponed for you to lose some weight first because it is a safer choice to wait awhile for surgery than to risk the complications.

For more information about whether your weight could cause a surgery to be postponed, talk to your doctor.

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Source: James deCaestecker, DO, FACS, Gem City Surgical Associates; Daniel Taylor, MD, FACS, Miami County Surgeons; L. Stewart Lowry, MD, FACS, Miami County Surgeons; Luan Tran, MD, Miami Valley Surgery Associates; Steven Sutherin, MD, FACS, Miami Valley Surgery Associates

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