Morbid obesity and 1-year costs after elbow dislocation

Dhanur Damodar, Derek D. Berglund, Rushabh M. Vakharia, Dragomir Mijic, Steven P. Kalandiak, Jonathan C. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Morbid obesity has been linked with serious associated injuries following dislocations of the knee. While similar devastating injuries have been observed following elbow dislocations in the obese, no study to date has characterized the financial impact of elbow dislocations in the morbidly obese population. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of morbid obesity on 1-year costs related to elbow dislocation. Methods: A retrospective query of the Medicare Standard Analytic Files database was performed for patients sustaining elbow dislocation from 2005 to 2014. 1-year reimbursement costs from the initial open or closed reduction procedures were compared for morbidly obese (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) patients versus those without morbid obesity (BMI < 40 kg/m2). Cohorts were matched based on age and gender. Total reimbursement costs associated with a diagnosis of elbow dislocation and/or reduction were analyzed. Results: We identified 182 morbidly obese patients and 422 patients without morbid obesity who underwent open or closed reduction for elbow dislocation. 102 patients with 1-year cost data remained in each cohort after matching. Mean 1-year reimbursement costs related to elbow dislocation were significantly greater in morbidly obese patients ($6227.43 vs $4225.71, p = 0.006). Conclusion: 1-year costs related to elbow dislocation are significantly higher in morbidly obese patients. The increased costs likely reflect the complexity of managing dislocations in the obese population. Difficulties maintaining closed reduction, longer and more challenging surgeries with a higher likelihood on intra- and post-operative complications, and a higher risk of peri-operative medical complications may all contribute to these increased costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-819
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • 1-Year cost
  • Body mass index
  • Elbow dislocation
  • Medicare
  • Morbid obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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