Bariatric Surgery With a Gene Blessing

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • I recently explored bariatric surgery in a several part blog.  Clearly the success of the surgery seems to largely depend on a patient committing to a before and after surgery lifestyle change that includes dietary and exercise elements.  A new study seems to indicate that having several genes that can promote a strong risk for obesity, may also result in less than optimal weight loss outcomes post surgery.


    This study looked at 1000 individuals with extreme obesity, meaning a body mass index over 35.  Those with the highest BMIs among the 1000 subjects had the poorest after-surgery weight loss outcomes.  And among the "poor weight loss losers," those with 4 genes in particular, had the poorest weight loss showings.  This study is important because bariatric surgery is a costly treatment for obesity and it has a number of possible negative outcomes.  Quality of life is also at issue, since the patients post surgery have to eat a certain way and take a number of supplements for the rest of their lives.  Doctors also want to tailor and individualize treatment plans to the patient, so knowing that an individual may not respond well to an expensive treatment like bariatric surgery can mean enormous savings and avoiding a treatment that will more than likely fail.

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    We do know that even a small weight loss that is maintained can help to alleviate insulin resistance and diabetes type 2 in some obese patients who have diabetes, so bariatric surgery may still have some validity if there are co-morbidities like diabetes.  In those cases it there may be value in bariatric surgery that results in even small amounts of weight loss that can be maintained, even if these 4 identified genes are present  in the patient. More studies like this will help health practitioners tailor individual plans to patients struggling to lose the weight and to keep it off.

Published On: July 26, 2011