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A ‘unique’ study offering important insights

This kind of information, they say, had not been reliably available before, because previous studies were unable to compare the data for patients of bariatric surgery with those of individuals who had opted for nonsurgical interventions.

“This study is unique in that it is demonstrates lower rates of all-cause mortality during up to 11 years of follow-up compared to non-surgical patients,” Reges told Medical News Today.

“The present study has the largest aggregation of patients undergoing the three popular types of bariatric procedures,” she added, noting that the research team was “somewhat surprised to see how similar the impact on mortality was for all three types of surgery.”

Reges and her team, however, warn that their study is observational, so it is difficult to infer a direct causal relationship between bariatric surgery and lower death rates. The findings, they say, could be influenced by a range of different factors that the researchers were unable to control.

Other limitations include “group imbalance” created by matching the participants based on their age, sex, BMI, and an existing diagnosis of diabetes.

Nevertheless, the authors conclude that their study will enrich the existing resources addressing the health outcomes of various obesity treatments. They write:

The evidence of [the] association [between bariatric surgery and lower all-cause death rates] adds to the limited literature describing beneficial outcomes of these three types of bariatric surgery compared with usual care obesity management.”

Following these “reassuring results,” Reges told MNT, the team plan to “study in depth each specific outcome and population subgroup to reach further insights and inform local and global policy.”

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