Diabetic patients who are severely obese with a BMI of 45 or over may have a reduced life expectancy if they undergo bariatric surgery, research suggests.
Daniel Schauer, MD, assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnatti, and colleagues studied data from roughly 200,00 patients.
This data was taken from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the HMO Research Network sites and the National Health Interview Survey linked to the National Death Index.
Schauer’s team compared life expectancy in two groups; severely obese diabetic individuals that received bariatric surgery compared to those who didn’t.
A 45-year-old diabetic woman with a BMI of 45 was found to have gained 6.7 years of life expectancy, on average, after bariatric surgery. This was 38.4 years with surgery, 31.7 years without.
Decreased life expectancy
However, the life expectancy gain decreased if BMI reached 62, and nonsurgical treatment was linked to greater life expectancy.
The results were similar between men and women in all age groups, while race was not investigated in the study.
“This was surprising. We expected those with higher BMIs to benefit more from bariatric surgery,” said Dr. Schauer.
“For most patients with diabetes and a BMI greater than 35, bariatric surgery increases life expectancy. However, the benefit of surgery decreases as BMI increases. The patients with a BMI over 62 likely don’t gain any life expectancy with surgery.”

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