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Study: Bariatric surgery weight gain percentage linked to health risks

A study found the health risks of patients undergoing bariatic surgery are dependent on the percentage of weight regained after the procedure

By Allen Cone, UPI

For patients who underwent bariatic surgery, health risks are dependent on the percentage of weight regained after the procedure, according to a study.

Researchers found that the percentage of maximum weight lost had the strongest associations with the various health outcomes compared with other measurements. The findings were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medication Association.

"Our study can help providers identify the best way to calculate weight regain after bariatric surgery to identify more specifically the patients at risk for recurrence or new onset of health problems," senior author Dr. Anita P. Courcoulas, chief of minimally invasive bariatric surgery at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said in a press release. "It highlights the importance of longer-term, close follow-up to help maximize weight and health results following bariatric surgery."

Followed over an average of 6.6 years were 1,406 adults with a median age of 47 who had undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery at one of 10 hospitals in the United States as part of the National Institutes of Health-funded Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2 from 2006 to 2009.

Other ways to measure weight regain include measure of body mass index as percentage of pre-surgery weight, percentage of lowest weight and number of pounds regained.

"Our study can help providers identify the best way to calculate weight regain after bariatric surgery to identify more specifically the patients at risk for recurrence or new onset of health problems," Courcoulas said. "It highlights the importance of longer-term, close follow-up to help maximize weight and health results following bariatric surgery."

The median BMI was 46.3 before surgery and the median percentage of maximum weight loss was 37.4 percent, which occurred at a median of two years.

A person who regained 19 percent of their maximum weight lost was associated with a 51 percent higher risk of diabetes progression and a 28 percent higher risk of decline in physical health-related quality of life, according to the study.

One year after maximum weight loss, 10 percent of the participants experienced diabetes progression, 26 percent high cholesterol and 46 percent high blood pressure.

Also, physical quality of life was experienced by 20 percent of participants and mental health-related quality of life involved 28 percent. Twelve percent experienced a decline in their satisfaction with their weight-loss surgery.

Five years after maximum weight loss, negative health outcomes grew to 35 percent for diabetes, 68 percent for high cholesterol, 72 percent for high blood pressure, 42 physical in phsyical quality of life, 33 percent in mental health-related quality of life and 28 percent for decline in satisfaction with surgery.

But five years after reaching maximum weight loss, participants maintained on average 73 percent of their maximum weight loss.

"So, despite weight regain, in general patients are much healthier having had surgery," Courcoulas said.

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