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Bariatric surgery study finds surprising results

University of Cincinnati

Bariatric surgery can improve life expectancy for a lot of people. But a UC study finds it may actually reduce life expectancy for one small group.

A team including Dr. Daniel Schauer with the Division of General Internal Medicine found diabetics with a body mass index higher than 62 saw life expectancy decrease after surgery.

"We were a little surprised by this finding," says Schauer. "I think there could be a couple of reasons. Number one, patients who are super obese like that may not reach normal BMI levels after surgery, so their diabetes may not resolve, so they may have more complications after surgery."

He says more research is needed, though the team doesn't have funding for that yet.

The study was published in the Annals of Surgery.

According to the Research:

Schauer and a team of researchers developed a decision analytic model to compare life expectancy in a group of severely obese diabetic individuals who had bariatric surgery to a group that did not have bariatric surgery. They used data involving approximately 200,000 patients from three HMO Research Network sites as well as data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and the National Health Interview Survey linked to the National Death Index. In the main analyses of the study, researchers found that a 45-year-old woman with diabetes and a body mass index of 45 kg/m2 gained an additional 6.7 years of life expectancy with bariatric surgery (38.4 years with surgery versus 31.7 years without). However, the gain in life expectancy decreased once BMI hit 62 kg/m2 with bariatric surgery. Similar results were seen for both men and women in all age groups. The study did not look at differences associated with race.

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