A Prior History of Substance Abuse in Veterans Undergoing Bariatric Surgery

Department of Surgery, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94304, USA
Journal of obesity 06/2013; 2013:740312. DOI: 10.1155/2013/740312
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Background. The rates of obesity and substance abuse are high among US veterans. Objective. To examine weight loss and substance abuse rates following bariatric surgery in veterans with a history of substance abuse (SA). Methods. A prospective database of consecutive bariatric operations was reviewed. Data for SA patients were compared to patients without a substance abuse history (NA). Behavioral medicine staff followed patients throughout the pre- and postoperative courses. Results. Of 205 bariatric surgery patients, there were 74 (36.1%) SA patients. The mean preoperative body mass index (BMI) was 46.2 ± 8.1 kg/m(2), and percent excess weight loss at 12 months was 71.8%, 58.0%, and 33.5% for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and laparoscopic gastric banding, respectively, not significantly different than the NA group (P = 0.15, 0.75, 0.96). Postoperative substance abuse in SA and NA patients was 8.1% and 1.5%, respectively (P = 0.234). Conclusion. A prior history of substance abuse is common in veterans undergoing bariatric surgery; weight loss results are comparable to the general veteran bariatric cohort. Rates of substance abuse are low postoperatively, but higher in patients without a prior history of substance abuse. Close multidisciplinary followup throughout the postoperative course is likely to be integral to the patient's success.

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