Providing Weight Loss Support to Patients Who Are Obese in Preparation for Colorectal Cancer Surgery to Reduce Surgical Site Infection Risk: A Mixed-methods Study

Colorectal Cancer

Nakagawa H, et al. Wound Manag Prev 2020.


Obesity increases the risk of surgical site infections (SSIs) after colorectal cancer surgery, but strategies to support weight loss in obese patients who have colorectal cancer have not been established.

PURPOSE: This mixed-methods study, using retrospective and prospective data, aimed to explore inhibitors and facilitators of preoperative weight loss in obese patients with colorectal cancer and the potential impact of preoperative weight loss support on SSIs.

METHODS: Patients with a body mass index (BMI) of ≥ 25 kg/m2 were eligible to participate in the weight loss support program. Patient demographic, history, surgical, and outcomes variables were abstracted from the records. Five (5) nurses who provided weight loss support participated in a focus group interview method to explore weight loss inhibitory and promotional factors. Descriptive statistics and qualitative analysis methods were used to examine the data.

RESULTS: Twenty-six (26) patients participated in the program for a mean of 45.5 days (SD ± 25.3). Body weight decreased from 79.8 kg (SD ± 15.6) to 75.7 kg (SD ± 14.3), and BMI decreased from 30.4 kg/m² (SD ± 4.7) to 29.4 kg/m² (SD ± 5.0) (P < .05). The average weight loss percentage was 4.9% (SD ± 3.4). In 14 patients, the weight loss percentage was 5% or more. SSIs occurred in 5 of 26 patients (19.2%). Additionally, 4 of 26 patients (15.4%) who had 8.8% or more weight loss did not manifest SSIs. Previous weight loss before the preoperative surgery visits, lack of motivation for weight loss, and time and duration required for weight loss were identified as inhibitory factors, whereas history of successful weight loss experience, knowledge acquisition, family support, and reduced knee and lower back pain were identified as promotional factors for weight loss.

CONCLUSION: Patients in this program lost weight prior to colorectal surgery. Research to further explore the safety and effects of preoperative weight loss in obese patients with colorectal cancer as well as inhibitory and promotional factors for participation and success is needed.