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Health And Medical

Weight-Loss Surgery Has Long-Term Benefits for Pain, Mobility

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 16, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Bariatric surgery aims to greatly help severely obese patients shed significant weight, and today new research demonstrates many may also anticipate lasting treatment and mobility.

Though many patients regain some weight in the initial year or two after bariatric surgery, pain and movement benefits appear to stand the test of time. Seven years out, 43% of the roughly 1,500 patients signed up for the analysis said their pain remained noticeably less than before surgery, and nearly two-thirds said their physical functioning was still better.

“Previous studies had provided evidence that bariatric surgical treatments are connected with clinically important improvements in pain, physical function and work productivity; however, most studies only followed participants one or two years, of which point participants were at the peak of these weight reduction,” said lead author Wendy King. She’s a co-employee professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.

King and her colleagues discovered that patients were experiencing “clinically important improvements in bodily and joint-specific pain and physical function” seven years following the two most typical forms of bariatric surgery — Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.

The brand new study builds on prior research by exactly the same team, which discovered that 3 years after bariatric surgery, 50% to 70% of patients reported less pain, in addition to better walking speeds and broadly improved physical function.

Patients in the brand new study had weight-loss surgery between 2006 and 2009. About 8 in 10 were white women, ranging in age from 38 to 55.

Between three and seven years after surgery, the percentage of patients who have been still reporting clinically important gains in pain, physical function and walking speed dropped — all down between 7 and 11 percentage points, the analysis found.

However, seven years out, half were still striding faster when completing a 400-meter walk than before surgery. Forty-three percent were still seeing significant improvements in pain and 64% in physical function.

An improved capability to handle the physical demands of work was another enduring good thing about the surgery.


While nearly two-thirds of participants said that pain and their overall state of health had interfered making use of their capability to do their jobs before surgery, that dropped to 43% seven years later.

“I was impressed by the durability of initial pre- to post-surgery improvements in pain, function and work productivity,” said King, who added that the declines between three and seven years were small, especially due to the fact participants growing older.

Overall, the findings enhance the conviction that “the advantages of present day bariatric surgical treatments — that’s, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy — far outweigh the risks,” King said.

Lona Sandon, an application director in the institution of Health Professions at University of Texas Southwestern INFIRMARY in Dallas, reviewed the findings.

She said that the excess benefits highlighted in the analysis are popular to doctors, who typically point them out to potential patients, even though patients’ primary motivation for surgery could be weight loss instead of treatment.

“Insurance will not approve surgery predicated on pain scales or movement capacity, as they are not considered medical diagnoses,” while obesity is, Sandon said.

“Insurance can be bad at spending money on prevention. Therefore, weight gets the principal focus,” she said, leaving patients to regard any extra great things about surgery as a “bonus” if they experience them.

“It really is nice to visit a long-term study showing these benefits last as time passes,” Sandon said. “Physically feeling better with less pain and greater capability to move can perform too much to improve mood and standard of living.”

The findings were published Sept. 14 in JAMA Network Open .

More info

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has more concerning the great things about weight-loss surgery.

SOURCES: Wendy King, PhD, associate professor, epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health; Lona Sandon, PhD, RDN, LD, program director and associate professor, clinical nutrition, UT Southwestern INFIRMARY, Dallas; JAMA Network Open, Sept. 14, 2022

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