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Am J Med. 2009 Nov;122(11):1055.e1-1055.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.05.024.

Quality of life after bariatric surgery: a population-based cohort study.

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Section of General Internal Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03765.



Bariatric surgery leads to profound weight loss, but postoperative complications and psychosocial issues may impact long-term quality of life. The primary aim of this project was to examine whether such patients have better quality of life and self-reported functional status compared with obese adults who do not have bariatric surgery.


This population-based study of patients evaluated for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery involved a survey consisting of baseline and follow-up single-item overall quality-of-life items (Linear Analogue Self-Assessment Questionnaire; LASA), follow-up quality of life (Short-Form-12), and activity (Goldman's Specific Activity Scale). A total of 268 and 273 surveys were mailed, with 148 (55.2%) operative and 88 (32.2%) nonoperative survey responders assessed, respectively. Linear regression was used, adjusting for changes in co-morbidity and functional status, to assess the differences in quality of life and activity level. Individual predictors of higher or better quality-of-life scores also were assessed.


There were no major differences in baseline characteristics between survey responders and nonresponders. Mean follow-up was 4.0 and 3.8 years in the operative and nonoperative groups, respectively. The change in overall LASA from baseline to follow-up between groups was 3.1 + or - 0.4 (P <.001). The adjusted Short-Form-12 score was 14.4 points higher in operative patients (P <.001) at follow-up. Operative patients had symptomatic improvement as measured by Specific Activity Scale status (odds ratio 7.5, P <.001) and self-reported exercise tolerance (odds ratio 2.61, P = .01) at follow-up compared with nonoperative patients. Predictors of a high follow-up LASA (P <.05) included initial treatment for depression, percent of weight lost, and absence of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease. Follow-up Short-Form-12 predictors included percent of weight loss, absence of baseline diabetes, baseline depression treatment, and follow-up cardiovascular disease.


Profound weight loss after bariatric surgery, seeking treatment for depression, and absence of medical co-morbidities appears to predict better quality of life and self-reported functional status.

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