Weight-Loss Surgery Gets People Moving

More than half of patients showed improvement in pain symptoms, ability to walk.

Weight-loss surgery seems to help ease joint pain and improve mobility in the long run, new research suggests.

“Previous studies have reported improvement in pain and function [after weight-loss surgery],” said study author Wendy King, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

However, most of those studies only followed people for a year after their procedure, she added.

“We found through three years of follow-up that, depending on the measure, 50 to 75 percent of adults with severe obesity who had bariatric [weight-loss] surgery experienced clinically significant improvements in pain, physical functioning and walking time,” she said. “Our findings reinforce the findings of shorter-term studies.”

King’s team evaluated more than 2,200 men and women who had weight-loss surgery at one of 10 hospitals across the United States. The patients’ median age was 47 and their median body mass index (BMI) was more than 45, which is considered severely obese. Most had the operation known as gastric bypass, which reduces the size of the stomach.

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