Purpose of review
The purpose is to review the key anatomical and physiological changes in obese patients and their effects on preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care and to highlight the best practices to safely extend minimally invasive approaches to obese patients and provide optimal surgical outcomes in this high-risk population.
Minimally invasive surgery is safe, feasible, and cost-effective for obese patients. Obesity is associated with anatomical and physiological changes in almost all organ systems, which necessitates a multimodal approach and an experienced, multidisciplinary team. Preoperative counseling, evaluation, and optimization of medical comorbidities are critical. The optimal minimally invasive approach is primarily determined by the patient's anatomy and pathology. Specific intraoperative techniques and modifications exist to maximize surgical exposure and panniculus management. Postoperatively, comprehensive medical management can help prevent common complications in obese patients, including hypoxemia, venous thromboembolism, acute kidney injury, hyperglycemia, and prolonged hospitalization.
Given significantly improved patient outcomes, minimally invasive approaches to gynecological surgery should be considered for all obese patients with particular attention given to specific perioperative considerations and appropriate referral to an experienced minimally invasive surgeon.