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AIM: Radiologically assessed muscle mass has been suggested as a surrogate marker of functional status and frailty and may predict patients at risk of postoperative complications. We hypothesize that sarcopenia negatively impacts on postoperative recovery and is predictive of complications. METHOD: One hundred patients undergoing elective resection for colorectal carcinoma were included in this study. Lean muscle mass was estimated by measuring the cross-sectional area of the psoas muscle at the level of the third lumbar vertebra identified on a preoperative CT scan, normalizing for patient height. Perioperative morbidity was scored according to the Clavien-Dindo classification. All statistical data analyses were carried out using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0. RESULTS: Fifteen per cent of patients were identified as sarcopenic. There were no deaths in the study group. Sarcopenia was associated with a significantly increased risk of developing major complications (Grade 3 or greater, OR = 5.41, 95% CI: 1.45-20.15, P = 0.01). Sarcopenia did not predict length of stay, critical care dependency or time to mobilization. CONCLUSION: Sarcopenia, as a marker of frailty, is an important risk factor in surgical patients but difficult to estimate using bedside testing. CT scans, performed for preoperative staging, provide an opportunity to quantify lean muscle mass without additional cost or exposure to radiation and eliminate the inconvenience of further investigations.

Original publication




Journal article


Colorectal Dis

Publication Date





O20 - O26


Sarcopenia, complications, computed tomography, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Anatomy, Cross-Sectional, Colectomy, Colorectal Neoplasms, Elective Surgical Procedures, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Postoperative Complications, Psoas Muscles, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Sarcopenia, Tomography, X-Ray Computed