My mother is very overweight and complains about back pain constantly. The doctor won’t operate on her until she loses 100 pounds. This isn't likely to happen. There are so many advances in today's medicine. Couldn’t she get some pain relief from surgery while still being overweight?

Obesity has been linked with more problems after surgery--even sudden death from a heart attack. Wound infections and blood clots are two other big concerns. The effect of obesity on results after lumbar surgery has been reported.

Four spinal surgeons reported on the results of lumbar surgery in 298 patients. Obese patients didn't get as much pain relief. More obese patients were unhappy with the results. But many obese patients said they were 'somewhat satisfied' or 'very satisfied.'

The authors of that study suggest obesity doesn't always keep patients from getting the operation they need. The doctor must think about all the other factors before making a final decision. This includes the patient's age, and overall general health. The presence of other medical conditions and health concerns is also important.