Bariatric Surgery Patients Less Likely to Develop Severe COVID-19

I pursued a career as a bariatric surgeon because of my desire to positively impact my patients throughout their lives. I know that weight loss surgery is about more than just the numbers on the scale. Bariatric surgery can extend a person’s life and improve its overall quality.

A new study suggests that the benefits of bariatric surgery may also include lower risks associated with COVID-19 severity. The study found that “previous weight loss surgery was significantly associated with a 49% lower risk of hospitalization, 63% lower risk of need for supplemental oxygen, and 60% lower risk of severe disease during a 12-month period after contracting COVID-19 infection.”

About the Study
Two physicians and four other healthcare researchers conducted the study and asked the question, “Is substantial weight loss achieved with weight loss surgery associated with improved risk and severity of COVID-19 infection in patients with obesity?”

This study focused on a group of patients who had previously undergone bariatric surgery sometime between 2004 and 2017 and a control group of patients who had not had such surgery. This group had been followed for some time and by March 1, 2020, those who had had bariatric surgery had lost more body weight than those in the control group.

The study then examined this group of 11,809 patients from March 1, 2020, to March 1, 2021. While the rates of COVID-19 infection were comparable between the groups, the improved outcome for patients who had achieved weight loss with surgery suggests that “obesity can be a modifiable risk factor for the severity of COVID-19 infection.”

What I Think About This Study
This study is reputable because it is published in the internationally peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association. The study is also extremely relevant because it focuses on two current health issues: obesity and COVID-19.

More than half of the American adult population is overweight or obese. This means that, based on this study, more than half of American adults could potentially face more severe risks associated with COVID-19 infection. I also recognize that there are many other factors that may come into play.

Obesity carries many significant health risks. Many patients pursue bariatric surgery because of those health risks. While avoiding COVID-19 should not be the sole reason a person considers bariatric surgery, it may now be seen as a consideration.

Schedule a Consultation Today
I have spent my career helping patients from across the globe transform their lives with bariatric surgery. I look forward to the opportunity to help you transform your life as well. For a consultation, please call the Endobariatric team at 1 (800) 381-8115.