Patients Who Undergo Weight Loss Surgery Are At High Risk of Suicide: Study

Patients Who Undergo Weight Loss Surgery Are At High Risk of Suicide: Study

A new study conducted by researchers from Canada has revealed that people who undergo weight-loss surgeries are at high risk of developing self-harm behaviors and suicide within the first three years after undergoing the procedure.

Researchers during the study looked at more than 8,800 people who underwent the weight-loss procedure. The researchers said they came across 62 reports of self-harm in the three years before people's surgeries, compared with 96 reports of self-harm in the three-year period after these people had weight-loss surgery.

The most common type of self-harm was intentionally overdosing on medication, which accounted for 115 of the reports, the researchers wrote. "Because self-harm emergencies are a strong predictor of suicide, these findings highlight the importance of screening for self-harm behaviors in patients undergoing bariatric surgery", they added.

Most of the experts agree on the point that bariatric surgery in which the size of a patient's stomach is reduced benefits the general health of people who are obese. Several previously conducted studies have also linked weight loss surgery with an increased risk of self-harm, researchers said.

Dr. Junaid Bhatti, an epidemiologist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute at the University of Toronto and the lead author of the new study, said previous studies have found evidence of increased suicide rates among weight-loss surgery patients. But all these studies didn't follow the patients before and after their surgery, said Bhatti.

The findings of the study were published on October 7 in the journal JAMA Surgery.

"Bariatric surgery follow-up is notoriously poor," Dr. Amir Ghaferi, director of bariatric surgery at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Healthcare System and one of two authors of the commentary, told CBS News. "We try to maintain at least one-year follow-up with our patients, but it's hard. Patients fall off the radar. They move, or it's the type of operation where if they're doing well or doing poorly, they're not going to come see you."

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