A new study recently published in the journal Obesity Surgery suggests that bariatric surgery is a safe, feasible and effective intervention in obese patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study was conducted by researchers at the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, and is entitled “Outcomes of Bariatric Surgery in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease”.
IBD is a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract that primarily comprises ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It is characterized by severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, internal cramps in the pelvis region, fatigue and weight loss. IBD can have a serious negative impact on the patient’s quality of life, and it is estimated that more than one million individuals in the United States are living with IBD. It is unclear what triggers IBD, but the disorder is known to be associated with an immunological deregulation and a microbial imbalance in the gut.
Reports have suggested that obesity is becoming increasingly prevalent among IBD patients. Bariatric surgery, a weight loss surgery through the reduction of the size of the stomach, is considered the most effective approach to promote weight loss. However, bariatric surgery in obese IBD patients can be contraindicated due to the risk of complications.
In the study, researchers investigated the safety, feasibility and efficacy of bariatric surgery in morbidly obese patients with IBD who had been submitted to the surgical procedure between January 2005 and December 2012. The team analyzed the postoperative clinical outcomes and IBD activity in all participants. In total, data was collected from 20 patients, 13 with ulcerative colitis and 7 with Crohn’s disease. The patient cohort analyzed had a mean age of 54 years, body mass index (BMI) of 50.1 kg/m2 and disease duration of 11 years.
Researchers found that after one year, the mean BMI change of the patient cohort was of 14.3 kg/m2 and the excess weight loss of 58.9%. No intraoperative complications occurred, although seven early postoperative complications were reported: dehydration (5 cases), wound infection (1 case) and pulmonary embolism (1 case). Within a mean follow-up period of 34.6 months, other complications were reported: ventral hernia (2 cases), pancreatitis (2 cases) and marginal ulcer (1 case). In terms of efficacy, researchers found that 9 out of 10 patients had an improvement in their IBD status.
The research team concluded that bariatric surgery is a safe and feasible procedure in morbidly obese IBD patients, and that besides promoting weight loss, it may also help alleviate the disease symptoms.