How Does Bariatric Surgery Affect Fall Risk Factors?

Obes Surg. 2021 Aug;31(8):3506-3513. doi: 10.1007/s11695-021-05400-2. Epub 2021 Apr 2.


Purpose: This study aimed to assess bariatric surgery (BS) effect on fall risk factors.

Materials and methods: Fifteen patients undergoing BS (intervention group, IG) and 10 non-surgical obese patients (control group, CG) were recruited. IG was assessed at pre-surgery and 6 months after BS, while CG was assessed at baseline and reassessed after 6 months. At both time-points, anthropometry, lower limbs muscle strength (isokinetic dynamometer), balance in bipedal stance (force platform), daily physical activity (accelerometry), and health-related quality of life (SF-36 questionnaire) were assessed.

Results: At baseline, there were no differences between CG and IG for all parameters analyzed. Compared to CG, 6 months post-BS, the IG decreased weight, body mass index, waist and hip circumference. Balance showed limited improvements, with gains observed only on antero-posterior and total center of pressure velocity. Muscle strength displayed a divergent evolution 6 months after BS, with a decrease in absolute strength but an increase in relative strength. Although BS did not induce significant changes in time spent in different physical activity intensities, it decreased time in sedentary behavior and increased number of daily steps. Post-BS patients reported substantial improvements in quality-of-life, especially in physical function.

Conclusion: Patients seem to overestimate their actual physical fitness improvements attained after BS, which combined with increases in physical activity, might increase the likelihood of engaging in risky daily tasks to what they are physically not prepared to, consequently increasing fall risk.

Keywords: Fall risk factors; Muscle strength; Perceived physical function; Physical activity; Postural control; Weight loss surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Humans
  • Obesity, Morbid* / surgery
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior