Study Examines Effects of Bariatric Surgery on Employment, Absenteeism

Lower prevalence of presenteeism observed over three years of follow-up after surgery
Lower prevalence of presenteeism observed over three years of follow-up after surgery

HealthDay News — Patients undergoing bariatric surgery maintain their employment status and have reduced prevalence of presenteeism after surgery, according to a study published in the October 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Rafael Alfonso-Cristancho, MD, PhD, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues recruited adults with severe obesity undergoing bariatric surgery at 10 U.S. centers for the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2 study. A total of 2,019 non-retired participants were followed through three years; 89% had work factors data at one or more follow-up assessments. 

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The researchers observed no significant change in the prevalence of employment or disability through follow-up, from 74.8 and 14.0%, respectively, pre-surgery. From pre-surgery to year three there was an increase in unemployment from 3.7 to 5.6% (P=0.02). Among the employed participants who comprised the work productivity sample, the prevalence of absenteeism was lower at year one versus pre-surgery (10.4 versus 15.2%); no significant difference was seen from pre-surgery to year two or three. The prevalence of presenteeism was lower at all post-surgery time points versus pre-surgery, but increased from years one to three (baseline, 62.8%, versus 31.9, 35.6, and 41.0%, at years one, two, and three, respectively).

"In this large cohort of adults who underwent bariatric surgery, patients maintained working status and decreased impairment due to health while working," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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