Abdominal wall cellulitis in the morbidly obese

Bjorg Thorsteinsdottir, Imad M. Tleyjeh, Larry M. Baddour

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Currently, almost two-thirds of the US population is either overweight or obese. In addition to non-infectious complications, obesity predisposes to infections, including lower extremity cellulitis. Although cases of abdominal wall cellulitis in the morbidly obese occur, to date there has been no formal address of this syndrome in the literature. We therefore reviewed our clinical experience of abdominal wall cellulitis complicating morbid obesity. A retrospective database search was performed to identify patients with both cellulitis and morbid obesity who were seen at the Mayo Clinic between January 1998 and August 2003. Clinical and microbiologic data were collected for these patients. Of the 260 cases of cellulitis identified, 24 (9.2%) had morbid obesity and abdominal wall cellulitis. The mean age of the 24 patients was 47 (range 22-70) y and over two-thirds of them were females. Their mean body mass index (BMI) was 62.3 (range 39.6-108.6). 17 (70.8%) had a remote history of abdominal surgery. 16 patients required 23 hospitalizations. Five patients developed cellulitis complications and 7 (29.1%) patients had recurrent bouts of cellulitis during the study period. Abdominal wall cellulitis is a unique infectious complication in patients with morbid obesity. Further study is needed to better define the pathogenesis of this illness to develop strategies in treatment and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-608
Number of pages4
JournalScandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 20 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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