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Weight-Loss Surgery Helps Less Obese Patients: Study
Date:6/16/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Obese patients whose body-mass index (BMI) falls below the minimum level recommended for weight-loss surgery may have better outcomes than those who are more obese, new research suggests.

An analysis of data from nearly 1,000 patients revealed that those patients whose pre-surgery BMIs were below the federal guideline threshold of 35-plus experienced a 100 percent remission from type 2 diabetes in the year following surgery.

In contrast, the remission rate for type 2 diabetes in obese patients with a BMI of 35 or more was about 75 percent.

"There was a clear trend that as your weight was lower when having gastric bypass surgery, your outcomes were actually better," noted study co-author Dr. John Morton, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics at Stanford University in Palo Alto.

"This finding suggests that perhaps we should be getting patients to surgery sooner than later, before their weight goes too high and the surgery comes less effective," Morton said.

"After all, when we talk about patients below a BMI of 35, we're not talking about people who are just pleasantly plump," Morton added. "These are people with real, substantial risks associated with excess weight, particularly with respect to diabetes, which has a lot of negative consequences."

Morton and his colleagues are slated to present their findings Thursday at the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla. Because the study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, its findings should be viewed as preliminary.

Guidelines from the National Institutes of Health recommend gastric bypass only for patients whose BMI is 35 or more and who have an obesity-related condition (such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, joint disease and/or metabolic syndrome) and who have not been abl
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