Patients who undergo obesity surgery may be more likely to return to work than obese patients who choose not to undergo surgery, researchers have said.
A study report published in the Archives of Surgery suggests that obesity surgery can have a hugely positive impact on health and wellbeing, and also on healthcare costs.
Researchers from Virginia Mason Medical Centre in Seattle compared 38 medically disabled patients who underwent gastric bypass between 1997 and 2002 with 16 patients who decided against surgery.
They found that patients who underwent obesity surgery "were more likely to return to work, with 14 (37 per cent) working, compared with one (six per cent) of the non-operative control patients".
The authors noted that morbid obesity leads to "dramatic increases" in healthcare costs, as patients commonly suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, degenerative arthritis, depression and sleep apnoea.
"Surgical treatment of morbid obesity has a profound effect on patients' quality of life as evidenced by the sustained long-term weight loss, reversal of co-morbidities, improved rating of quality of life and the patients' ability to return to the workforce," they concluded.
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