Most recent update: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 17:07

Bariatric News - Cookies & privacy policy

You are here

Surgery and osteoarthritis

Surgery increases QoL for osteoarthritis patients

After one year, the participants who received medical intervention and underwent bariatric surgery saw significant improvements in physical functioning, general health, and energy and fatigue
At three years, these improvements remained, but only the improvements in general health remained statistically significant

Weight loss after bariatric surgery has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for patients suffering from osteoarthritis (OA), according to a study presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The researchers from the Arthritis Center, Orthopedic and Rheuamtologic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, looked at the results of massive weight loss through bariatric surgery to see if this may be a possible intervention to help people with OA obtain a higher quality of life.

“This is a huge public health concern,” said Dr M Elaine Husni, vice chair, Department of rheumatic and immunologic diseases and director at the Arthritis Center. “Many people who are obese also have symptomatic osteoarthritis, a condition that leads to life-long disability and pain, and there has been no effective disease modifying treatment for decades other than joint replacement surgery.

Husni’s team followed 67 patients, who are part of a larger study that looks at bariatric surgery combined with medical management of diabetes versus bariatric surgery alone in people with confirmed OA, who are obese, and have uncontrolled type II diabetes, for three years to determine how bariatric surgery effected their osteoarthritis.

The participants were predominately female (44 of the 67) with an average age of 51 and an average BMI36.6. Each participant completed a health assessment questionnaire (Short Form-36) to evaluate their overall health and quality of life. Eighteen of the participants were given medical intervention alone and the other 49 received medical intervention and underwent bariatric surgery. Over the course of three years, both groups reported on changes in physical functioning, pain, general heath, energy/fatigue, emotional well-being, social functioning and overall mental health.

After one year, the participants who received medical intervention and underwent bariatric surgery saw significant improvements in physical functioning, general health, and energy and fatigue. At three years, these improvements remained, but only the improvements in general health remained statistically significant.

“’Would the effects of this treatment stand the test of time?' was an important question," explained Husni. “Bariatric surgery is not without risk, and we wanted to study patients three years out to see if the possible outcomes were sustained. And, yes, improvements in general health maintained in this population over time.”

These results show promise that significant weight loss following bariatric surgery has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for people suffering from OA. Although improvements at year three were not as significant as one might hope, the changes from the beginning of study to years one and three were significant enough to convince Husni’s team that further study of activity level, maintenance of weight loss, and metabolic cytokines may need to be performed to understand how the impacts of bariatric surgery can be preserved.

“As health care reforms continue to advocate for the most cost effective ways to manage our patients and keep them mobile, prospective studies are needed to better characterize the impact of bariatric surgery”, she added. “This surgery is not without risk, but for some patients this may be the best option."

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to Bariatric News!

Bariatric News
Keep up to date! Get the latest news in your inbox.