Mental Illness Has a Negative Impact on Weight Loss in Bariatric Patients: a 4-Year Follow-up

J Gastrointest Surg. 2019 Feb;23(2):232-238. doi: 10.1007/s11605-018-3903-x. Epub 2018 Aug 8.


Background: Mental health disorders are highly prevalent among bariatric surgery patients. Bariatric surgery induces weight loss with continuous health improvements. However, long-term follow-up data on weight loss and quality of life data of patients who have a mental illness after bariatric surgery are scarce, and it is not clear whether mental illness is associated with more pronounced weight regain. The aim was to investigate the impact of preoperative mental illness on the course of long-term weight changes after bariatric surgery.

Methods: Patients with sleeve gastrectomy (SG) or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) between 2005 and 2013 with a follow-up of at least 3 years were included. The study population was divided into two groups: patients with mental illness (MI) and patients without (No-MI). Weight loss outcomes over time were compared using mixed models up to 4 years after surgery.

Results: In total, 254 patients (RYGB 61.0%, SG 39%) were included. The distribution of baseline characteristics was similar between the MI (n = 108) and No-MI groups (n = 146). The most prevalent mental illness was depressive disorder (63.9%). In the MI group, the percent of total weight loss (%TWL) was significantly smaller over the study period. After 36 months, the predicted mean group-difference of %TWL was 4.6% (95% CI 1.9, 7.2; p = 0.001), and the predicted odds ratio for weight regain was 4.9 (95% CI 1.6, 15.1) for patients in the MI group.

Conclusion: Preoperative mental illness leads to lower long-term weight loss and an increased risk of weight regain after bariatric surgery.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Depression; Long-term; Mental illness; Weight change; Weight loss outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Obesity, Morbid / epidemiology
  • Obesity, Morbid / physiopathology
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Loss*