In a new study, researchers found that obese people who lose weight before they do bariatric surgery may experience negative health outcomes.
The finding suggests that weight loss before the surgery may not be necessary or safe.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Pennsylvania.
Currently, patients are required to try dieting before the surgery. This is based on 28-year-old guidelines from the National Institutes of Health.
The guidelines suggest that doctors should first determine that patients could not succeed with nonsurgical methods to lose weight before doing the surgery.
In the new study, the team found there was little evidence supporting the need for the weight loss requirement.
They examined data from about 349,000 patients from 2015 to 2017 who had undergone either a sleeve gastrectomy or a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
In a sleeve gastrectomy, a large part of the stomach is removed. In a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, doctors create a small pouch from the stomach and attaching it directly to the small intestine.
The researchers found that there was little evidence showing weight loss before surgery could reduce complications such as readmission, corrective surgeries, death or infections.
In fact, patients may actually experience more harmful effects by trying to lose weight first.
The team found weight loss before surgery was linked to readmission for abdominal pain and increases in the urinary tract and surgical site infections.
In addition, faced with the requirement, some patients change their minds about the surgery. The death risk of surgery is less than not seeking treatment, according to the team.
The researchers conclude that weight loss before surgery may not be as necessary as we once thought.
The lead author of the study is Colleen Tewksbury, senior research investigator, and bariatric program manager with Penn Medicine.
The study is published in the journal Obesity Surgery.
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