An analysis of patients who underwent bariatric surgery concludes that the majority enjoyed significant improvement in walking ability and pain levels in the back and legs. The study further identified the characteristics of patients most likely to achieve these benefits and improved outcomes. The work was led by researchers from the University of Pittsburg Graduate School of Public Health, and published last week in Journal of the American Medical Association. Lead author Wendy King, PhD, commented, “Our study found that clinically meaningful improvements in bodily pain, specific joint pain, and physical function are common following bariatric surgery. In particular, walking is easier, which impacts patients’ ability to adopt a more physically active lifestyle. This data can help patients and clinicians develop realistic expectations regarding the impact of bariatric surgery on pain and disability.”
The researchers analyzed outcomes of 2,221 bariatric surgery patients who participated in a longitudinal assessment study. Most received Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, a surgical procedure that significantly reduces the size of the stomach and changes connections with the small intestine. During 3 years postprocedure, 50% to 70% reported clinically significant improvements in bodily pain, physical function, and walking speed. The analysis concluded that older age, lower income, more depressive symptoms, and pre-existing medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes before surgery, were among the factors associated with a lower likelihood of improvement in these patients.
Read a news story about the analysis and conclusions here.
The journal article may be found here.