Weight loss surgery significantly reduces the risk of death from obesity-related conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, a new study suggests.
The study published in the journal Obesity included over 21,000 matched pairs of those who had bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss or metabolic surgery, and people of similar weight who did not have operation.
Mortality from all causes was 16% lower in those who underwent surgery, except for the 18-to-34-year group. In this category, the significantly greater all-cause mortality among those who had weight loss surgery was related to external causes.
The surgery also reduced the risk of death from obesity-related conditions. Patients who underwent surgery had a 29% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 43% reduced risk of death from cancer. The most significant decline (72%) was in the risk of death from diabetes.
“Reduced all-cause mortality was durable for multiple decades, for multiple bariatric surgical procedures, for females and males, and for greater than age 34 years at surgery,” the study authors concluded.
What is weight loss surgery?
Three types of weight loss surgeries are performed in the U.S:
Gastric sleeve is an operation where most of the stomach is removed. The procedure reduces the amount of food the patient eats by making them feel full sooner.
Gastric bypass surgery consists of three steps and is intended to make changes in the gastrointestinal tract that may affect appetite and metabolism. First, the stomach is reduced by using staples, creating a small pouch in the upper section. Next, the small intestine is divided into two parts, the lower of which is attached to the stomach pouch. Then, the upper part of the small intestine is reconnected to a new location.
In adjustable gastric band surgery, a ring with an inner inflatable band is placed around the top of the stomach to create a small pouch. The operation also makes a patient feel full after eating smaller amounts of food.
Obesity is increasing
The U.S. obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 41.9% in the last two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The condition primarily affects Black, Hispanic, and white adults.
A person is considered obese if their body mass index (BMI) is 30.0 or higher. Adults with obesity are at higher risks for premature death, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, and mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression.
Recent guidelines on obesity treatment by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) recommend adding pharmacological agents to lifestyle interventions.
- Obesity. Long-term all-cause and cause-specific mortality for four bariatric surgery procedures.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Obesity Facts.
- Gastroenterology. AGA Clinical Practice Guideline on Pharmacological Interventions for Adults With Obesity.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consequences of Obesity.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Types of Weight-loss Surgery.