More than 220,00 Americans had some kind of surgery for weight loss in 2009, but this type of surgery may not have any health benefits, in fact it may increase the chances of death especially in high risk patients – heavier, middle aged and older men – according to a new study on the subject.
Health experts have been advocating Gastrointestinal surgery for obesity, also called bariatric surgery as an effective means of weight-loss for quite some time now especially for patients who remain severely obese after trying nonsurgical approaches, or if they have an obesity-related disease. However, surgery to produce quick weight loss is a serious undertaking and should not be considered a “quick-fix.”
According to Matthew Maciejewski of Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina, he writes in the Journal of American Medical Association that results from this type of study show that doctors should be taking a lot of care when counseling obese patients regarding their weight-loss treatments.
Earlier research that was conducted around this topic showed that weight loss surgery would increased life expectancy by up to three years and that this was a very effective form of weight loss for men, however it has been suggested that this earlier research was completed with younger women.
In the study 850 veterans who had bariatric surgery at 12 Veterans Affairs medical centers, mostly men and over the age of 50 years in a six year period were examined between January 2000 and December 2006..
Seven percent of the men had died up to six years after the surgery, including serious complications — such as massive bleeding or kidney failure — whereas a comparison group showed that 15 percent of obese mean who didn’t have any surgery.
On closer examination of a group of 1,694 patients which were closely matched for age, health and weight factors – 847 control patients and 847 patients that had the surgery – it showed that the men who got bariatric surgery had no real chance of living longer than those that didn’t have the surgery.
But when researchers examined further a group of 1,694 patients — 847 surgery patients and 847 controls who had been carefully matched for age, weight and medical characteristics — this difference disappeared. People who got bariatric surgery were no more likely to survive than those who didn’t.
This is the first study to compare the effectiveness of weight-loss surgery death rates among older and obese mean, and whether they did or did not have the surgery, however it was only over a six year period, and therefore may have some limitations.
Researchers point out that patients may want the surgery for other reasons, including helping to improve their heath when they have not been successful in trying to do this in other ways.
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