Weight-loss surgery has benefits beyond the number on a scale

Weight-loss surgery has benefits beyond the number on a scale

Transforming from being obese to a healthy weight is a top benefit of weight-loss surgery, but a new study shows one additional long-term quality of life benefit experienced by many who go under the knife to lose weight.

Both men and women cited improvements in sexual function five years after undergoing weight-loss surgery, according to a new longitudinal study in JAMA Surgery, an international peer-reviewed publication published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Deeper sexual satisfaction, increased sexual desire and additional sexual activity were reported among about half of study participants who had reported experiencing challenges in these areas prior to undergoing bariatric surgery. More than 2,200 patients from 10 U.S. hospitals participated in the study.

Those findings come as no surprise to Dr. Allen T. Mikhail, a bariatric surgeon at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.

“This study’s revelation about the positive impact on sexual health further underscores how weight-loss surgery goes a long way toward improving the quality of life for so many people,” Mikhail says. “It validates the lasting impact that surgery can have in the lives of individuals one, two and even five years later.”

Previous research has shown other health benefits of weight-loss surgery, including lowered diabetes risk, decrease in cholesterol levels and hypertension, and less joint pain. Short-term improvements in sexual function also were widely reported benefits, but the long-term improvements to sexual satisfaction, desire, activity and physical health limitations to sexual activity were less well-researched before this study’s publication.

Before surgery, 70 percent of women and 74 percent of men expressed dissatisfaction with sexual function, according to the study. But a year later, 56 percent of women and 50 percent of men experienced improvements. Five years later, sexual satisfaction remained high among those who completed questionnaires before surgery and every year thereafter for five years. The study was conducted among patients who underwent surgery between 2006 and 2009.

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  1. This is a very misleading article! It sounds like you are crediting the surgery for these improvements when the surgery does none of these things. Losing weight, no matter how it is accomplished, is the reason for the changes.

  2. Sex is private. Stop with the TMI!

  3. Dr. Allen Mikhail March 4, 2019 at 11:42 am · Reply

    You are correct any medical weight loss surgical or non surgical would likely improve sexual measures. Although non surgical weight loss is not as effective in terms of the amount of weight lost and the durability of the weight loss in terms of losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off. Therefore the study was likely done on surgical patients because the treatment is effective and the patients can be followed. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Ramón Esparza March 4, 2019 at 8:27 pm · Reply

    Dr. Allen T. Mikhail is a wealth of knowledge on the subject of weight loss.

    Life and Love are amazing at any size, but for every pound left behind, it definitely makes the benefits that life has to offer that much greater!

    I believe that after weight loss surgery, I’m in greater control of my feelings and more mindful of my emotions.

    Many thanks to the good doctor and the staff at #LifeweighBariatrics, #AdvocateGoodSamaritan & #AdvocateLutheranGeneral for all their hard work and dedication to those individuals that are interested and in need of this procedure!

    Changes start in the heart.
    I know I’m not the only one!


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About the Author

Lisa Parro
Lisa Parro

Lisa Parro, health enews contributor, is a content manager for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. A former journalist, Lisa has been in health care public relations since 2008 and has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She and her family live in Chicago’s western suburbs.