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Weight Loss Surgery Reduces Pain and Improves Physical Function of Severely Obese Patients

Apr 09, 2016 09:49 AM EDT
Morbid Obesity
A new study shows that weight loss surgery can help reduce pain and improve physical function of morbidly obese people.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Weight loss surgery has been a great option for people with severe or morbid obesity who cannot lose weight through the traditional means of diet and exercise, or those who already have serious health conditions caused by obesity.

In a new study published in the journal JAMA Network, researchers discovered that severely obese people who underwent weight loss surgery experience reduction in pain and improvement of their day-to-day physical function within the first three years after the surgery.

For the study, researchers recruited adults with severe obesity who underwent weight loss surgery at 10 U.S. hospitals between 2005 and 2009.

Researchers conducted assessments prior to the surgery to be used as the baseline.

Annual assessments were also done after the surgery in a three-year follow-up through 2009.

Out of the 2458 recruited participants, 2221 completed the baseline and annual assessments.

A year after the surgery, 57.6 percent of the participants reported an improvement of pain, 76.5 percent of them reported improvement in body function while 59.5 percent had their walk time improved.

The improvement rate for pain and bodily function has significantly decreased to 48.6 percent and 70.2 percent, respectively, from year 1 to year 3.

On the other hand, patients' walk time did not experience any significant decrease.

According to the report from Healio, researchers have considered the following factors have contributed to the improvements.

  • Younger age
  • Male sex
  • Higher income
  • Lower body mass index
  • Fewer pre-surgery depressive symptoms
  • No diabetes
  • No history or remission of venous edema with ulcerations after surgery
  • Pre-surgery-to-post-surgery reductions in weight

Fox News, however, reported that the study was observational and can't prove a direct causal relationship between weight loss surgery and pain reductions or mobility improvements.

Obesity is one of the major health problems terrorizing the world, gradually outnumbering malnutrition.

According to a previous study, about 55 million people in the world are morbidly obese.

It is also considered by the World Health Organization to be one of the major causes of diabetes.

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