Bariatric Surgery Helps Patients With Joint Problems, Asthma Issues

First Posted: Mar 29, 2015 11:39 PM EDT

Statistics show that more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese, many of whom suffer from significant health issues that will dramatically cut-short their lives.

For some, bariatric surgery may be an option to make a change.

Now, a new study published in the journal Allergy and Clinical Immunology look at how this weight loss surgery has also helped many patients dealing with joint replacements and asthma.

Lead study author Dr. Emily Dodwell of Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York said the progress of obese patients in need of knee or hip replacement was checked by the team.

Researchers divided them into two groups: one including those who had weight-loss surgery before joint replacement and another of patients who didn't have bariatric surgery prior to joint replacement. They found that the first group who had underwent bariatric surgery had a lower risk of asthma flare-ups and also recovered faster than other groups.

"We found that risk of an emergency department visit or hospitalization for asthma exacerbation decreased by half after bariatric [weight-loss] surgery and remained significantly lower for at least 2 years," the study's authors noted.

Dr. Dodwell concluded that weight loss surgery just before knee or hip replacement procedures can lead to better results among obese patients.

Investigator Dr. Emily Dodwell of Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) at New York had also pointed out that weight loss surgery just before knee or hip replacement procedures also leads to better results among obese patients.

"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," said Dr. Alexander McLawhorn, chief orthopedic surgery resident at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York and a co-author of the study.

Furthermore, Dr. Kohei Hasegawa, the lead author of the study and an attending physician in the emergency department of the Massachusetts General Hospital found that weight loss surgery helped decrease asthma symptoms for 11 percent of this group of patients during the two years after weight loss surgery. 

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