Bariatric surgery cuts pounds, adds years

by Lynne Peeples ,  Reuters | 2011-02-01

(Reuters Health) - Obese individuals may add years to their lives by drastically cutting pounds with bariatric surgery, according to a new review of clinical trials of popular gastric bypass and banding procedures.

Italian researchers found that undergoing one of the two operations reduced a patient's odds of dying by nearly half over an average study period of seven to eight years.

Bariatric surgery can produce a sustained reduction in body weight, at a level that is very difficult to achieve with other common obesity-management strategies, Dr. Luca Busetto of the University of Padova, in Italy, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

This can be life-saving, as people who are morbidly obese carry a two-to-three fold higher risk of death compared to normal-weight people, due in large part to obesity-related conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, added Busetto, who was not involved in the review but led one of the included studies.