Bariatric surgery cuts liver damage risks

Image Credit: Provided by Dana Fisher If you’re overweight or obese, chances are you’ve considered getting lap band surgery to shift the excess weight. In some cases, surgery may be a less painful option,…

Bariatric surgery cuts liver damage risks

Image Credit: Provided by Dana Fisher

If you’re overweight or obese, chances are you’ve considered getting lap band surgery to shift the excess weight. In some cases, surgery may be a less painful option, but the disease comes with a price. Also called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), complications can range from blindness to organ failure. And most people don’t have the warning signs early on. With new data out, it now appears that bariatric surgery may actually reduce the risk of severe liver disease, making it even more appealing to consider.

A new British study looked at data on 20,000 people who were diagnosed with liver damage from liver disease after bariatric surgery between 1995 and 2009. It found that the risk of liver disease after surgery was about 50% lower in the patients who were nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) carriers. “Importantly,” the study notes, “this association held with no decrease in the rate of another abnormal liver biomarker, troponin.”

This is the fourth time such data have come out from the UK, but it certainly can’t be conclusive. “More work is needed before bariatric surgery can be seen as a routine treatment for NAFLD,” notes the authors, adding that only one-third of patients treated by surgeons have been found to have liver damage after surgery.

However, the researchers did conclude that: “The association suggests that bariatric surgery may lower the risk of severe liver disease, which has previously been considered a high-risk outcome after bariatric surgery.”

What might be a better option for someone considering surgery for weight loss is a gastric sleeve. Gastric sleeves have fewer nutritional needs, and might lead to less weight gain. This makes it a more sustainable option, for at least one type of surgery.

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