Simple psoas cross-sectional area measurement is a quick and easy method to assess sarcopenia and predicts major surgical complications

Jones, K.I. and Doleman, Brett and Scott, S.D. and Lund, Jonathan N. and Williams, John P. (2015) Simple psoas cross-sectional area measurement is a quick and easy method to assess sarcopenia and predicts major surgical complications. Colorectal Disease, 17 (1). O20-O26. ISSN 1463-1318

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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.


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.


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.


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.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Sarcopenia; complications; computed tomography
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2017 09:55
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2017 23:29

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