Severely overweight people are advised to undergo weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery. However, two new studies, presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Las Vegas, have revealed the added benefits of this particular surgery. Weight loss surgery, if carried out before knee or hip replacement, improves results for the latter. Researchers have also found that weight-loss surgery lowers the risk of serious asthma flare-ups.
Lead investigator Dr. Emily Dodwell from Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York reported that the progress of obese patients with BMI above 40, who required either hip or knee replacement, was checked by the research team. The patients were divided into two groups. One of the groups included patients who underwent weight-loss surgery before joint replacement and the other group had patients who never had weight-loss surgery. The study revealed that patients who underwent weight-loss surgery before joint replacement recovered faster with better results.
Study co-author Dr. Alexander McLawhorn, chief orthopedic surgery resident at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York stated “We know that bariatric surgery is a cost-effective intervention for morbid obesity. Yet, the cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery to achieve weight loss prior to joint replacement and thus decrease the associated complications and costs in morbidly obese patients was unknown.”
Another study has found that the patients who underwent weight-loss surgery had lower risk of serious asthma flare-ups. Health database for 2,300 obese patients from California, Nebraska and Florida was analyzed by the researchers. Previously, it was shown that obesity leads to inflammation from chemicals called interleukins which are released from excess fat cells. Lower asthma flare-ups, as observed in the new study, could be the result of less instances of inflammation.