Weights while waiting: Change in weight between the date of booking for surgery and the date of surgery

Publication Name

Perioperative Care and Operating Room Management


Background: The natural history of patient weight while on surgical waiting lists of 3 months or more has not been previously reported. Methods: Data was obtained for adult patients undergoing surgery with category C (more than 3 months) and D (patient not yet ready) bookings for elective surgery in one local health district in New South Wales, Australia, over one calendar year. Booking dates, surgery dates, booking category, name of operation, and weight recorded at both booking of surgery and performance of surgery were extracted from the electronic medical record system. Weight changes of more than one kilogram were defined as significant weight loss or gain. The influence of initial booking weight, duration of waiting period, age, and type of surgery on weight change were investigated. Results: The study population comprised 1 622 operations in patients booked for a variety of surgical specialties, with a mean waiting time between booking and performance of surgery of 290 days. Booking weights were missing for twenty seven percent of patients. The overall mean weight change for the remaining cohort was +0.8 kg. Twenty two percent of patients lost weight while waiting for surgery, 44% stayed the same, and 35% increased weight. Conclusion: In patients booked for a wide range of surgeries with waiting periods of 3 months and more, the most common finding was no significant change in weight. There was an overall mean weight gain of just under one kilogram for the entire cohort. The influence of duration of time on waiting list, initial booking weight, type of surgery, and age were minimal. This study highlighted the poor recording of patient weight perioperatively.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



Article Number




Link to publisher version (DOI)