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Weight Loss Surgery Considerations You Need To Know Before Surgery

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Weight loss surgery is not for everyone.

Will you be happy with the results of your weight loss surgery? Here’s the latest on weight loss surgery considerations you need to know about to determine if you are likely to become dissatisfied with your surgery or not, and how to take control of your post-surgery outcome.

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A news release from the University of Pittsburgh reports that epidemiologists have uncovered some of the underlying reasons why not all weight loss surgery patients are happy with their surgery in the years that follow.

The findings published in a recent issue of Annals of Surgery are the result of analysis of two studies focused on the problems that not all patients are satisfied with their surgery and why many wind up regaining their lost weight.

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According to the news release, “Every year, tens of thousands of Americans who struggle with obesity undergo gastric bypass surgery to manage their body weight and comorbidities, such as diabetes. Yet, the Pitt scientists found, while most patients are at least somewhat satisfied with their surgery long-term, satisfaction decreased from 85% to 77% three to seven years post-surgery.

What the first study determined is that there are several patient characteristics both before and after surgery that can predict whether a patient is likely to feel satisfied in the long-term with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

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For the pre-surgery patients, independently, these characteristics include:

• Being of a younger age.
• Having a lower body mass index (BMI).
• Requiring a higher percent weight loss in order to reach their “dream weight.”
• Starting off with a worse physical and mental health status.
• Having less social support.

For the post-surgery patients there was measurable dissatisfaction when patients:

• Experienced less weight loss.
• Had worsening physical and mental health status.
• Had less social support.
• Experienced greater depressive symptomology after the surgery.

“Knowing these characteristics can be useful for clinicians when talking to patients about how realistic their post-surgery expectations are, particularly when having conversations about achieving their dream weight,” said Gretchen White, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and clinical and translational science at Pitt’s Institute for Clinical Research and Education, and lead author of the first study. “Modifying expectations early may lead to better satisfaction long-term.”

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Using the same data source of 1,700 adults who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery with a follow-up of seven years, the second study revealed that post-surgery patients that had higher activity levels were also a predicter of more successful weight loss and less weight regain.

“Our data support why it’s important to counsel patients regarding their physical activity behaviors,” said Wendy King, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health and first author of the second study.

“Although patients in general are not meeting physical activity recommendations post-surgery, we found a dose-response relationship—the more active patients were, the better improvement they had in depressive symptoms and health-related quality of life. Every bit matters.”

The take-home message behind these two studies is that with respect to their long-term satisfaction and improved health following surgery, patients would benefit with added support to ensure that they were kept more active physically and socially in order to optimize the potential benefits of undergoing bariatric surgery.

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And while the onus falls primarily on the healthcare system to provide such support, patients need to become more proactive in following their physicians’ advice to adopt a less sedentary lifestyle following weight loss surgery.

For more information about how you can make the difference in your life following bariatric surgery, here is an informative article titled “Weight Loss Maintainers’ Secrets for Keeping Lost Weight Off Forever.”

Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Today, with an eye on the latest news, Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on what you need to know for healthier living. For continual updates about health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.

Image Source: Courtesy of Greg Rosenke on Unsplash.

References:

Pitt Scientists Identify Predictors of Satisfaction after Bariatric Surgery and Demonstrate Positive Effects of Physical Activity in Patients” University of Pittsburgh news release 24 Nov. 2020.

Associations between Physical Activity and Changes in Weight Across 7 Years following ROUX-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery: A Multicenter Prospective Cohort Study” King WC, Hinerman AS, White GE, Courcoulas AP, Saad MAB, Belle SH; Annals of Surgery, 1 Sep. 2020.

Long-term Satisfaction with Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery Results from a Multicenter Prospective Cohort Study” White, Gretchen E. PhD, Courcoulas, Anita P. MD; King, Wendy C. PhD, Annals of Surgery 24 November 2020.

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