People who have undergone obesity (bariatric) surgery live three years longer, on average, than those given conventional treatment for their obesity, a University of Gothenburg study shows. Compared with the general population, however, both groups’ excess mortality is high.
The results published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) are based on the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study, which started in 1987 and is led from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
The study comprises data on 2,007 adult patients who had undergone bariatric surgery and a control group of 2,040 given conventional (nonsurgical) treatment for obesity. Also included was a representative reference group of 1,135 people from the general population.
Among those who underwent surgery, estimated average life expectancy was 3.0 years longer than in people treated with non-surgical obesity care, but 5.5 years shorter than in the general population.
It has been known for some time that bariatric surgery brings about lasting weight loss and lowered risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, leading to lower mortality. On the other hand, to what extent this translates to extension of life expectancy after bariatric surgery has been unknown.
Dr. Lena Carlsson Ekander, Professor of Clinical Metabolic Research at Sahlgrenska Academy, has been responsible for the SOS study since 2005 and is the lead author of the article.
“Now, for the first time, we’ve got a measure of how much bariatric surgery prolongs life