Laparoscopic Associates of San Francisco
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When Weight Loss Surgery is All in the Family

December 3rd, 2010 Posted in Bariatric surgery, Diabetes, GERD, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, weight loss surgery, Weight loss surgery results

We have many families that have weight loss surgery, with many requesting to have it the same day. It is a very remarkable-not to mention interesting-process to watch evolve. I recently came across a study that was presented at the latest Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) meeting.

Researchers followed 91 patients from 41 families who were either siblings, parent and child, spouses,
cousins, grandmother and granddaughter, in-laws or aunt or uncle and nephew or niece and compared them to a control group of individual Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients with a comparable body mass index (BMI), age and gender.

After six months, one year and two years, family members who had gastric bypass surgery together lost
more of their excess weight than patients who had the surgery by themselves. The biggest difference was after one year, where family members lost, on average, about 30 percent more of their excess weight (77% vs. 60%) relative to the control group. The difference was even greater for siblings who lost about 40 percent more of their excess weight relative to the controls (86% vs. 60%).

Obesity-related diseases also resolved or improved at a much higher rate for family members. About
twice as many experienced resolution of Type 2 diabetes (65% vs. 31%) and hypertension (60% vs. 33%) after one year. Resolution of sleep apnea was 70 percent and resolution of GERD was 63 percent, compared to 23 percent and 41 percent resolution, respectively, for the control group. Sibling rivalry? Built-in support system?

The study credits compliant follow-up care for the increased weight loss surgery results. Families were more consistent with their post-operative follow-up visits with their doctor following surgery, particularly after the first year. The first six months after surgery 89 percent of patients in the family group and 81 percent of the control group kept their appointments. But at the one year mark, only 58 percent of the control group was keeping their appointments compared to 83.5 percent in the family group.  I think everyone can agree that regular follow-up care with their surgeon and dietitian plays a role in success.

Nicole Kimbrough

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