A recent study suggests that bariatric surgery may provide more than the cosmetic benefit of looking thinner – “it may also reduce the risk for disease and premature death in patients.
Dr. Mikolich and colleagues at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine studied 50 patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery. Before surgery, all subjects had a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40, or a BMI of 35 to 40 along with at least two obesity-related health complications.
Two years after surgery, the average BMI of the group decreased from 47 to 29.5. In addition to the expected weight loss, subjects showed reduced risk factors for coronary artery disease.
Mean carotid intima-media thickness fell from 0.84 to 0.50 mm and mean flow-mediated dilation improved from 6.0 percent to 14.9 percent. Mean high-sensitivity C-reactive protein decreased from 1.23 to 0.65 mg/dL at 6 months and to 0.35 mg/dL at 2 years. These numbers indicate that patients were less at risk for coronary atherosclerosis after undergoing bariatric surgery.
Dr. Mikolich also noted a decrease in the use of anti-hypertension and lipid-lowering medications after the weight loss procedures. Researchers concluded that decreasing the risk for coronary atherosclerosis, the most common cause of death in the United States, may encourage insurance companies to expand their coverage of weight loss surgeries.