Obesity Surgery

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 963–969 | Cite as

Occupational Outcomes of Obesity Surgery—Do the Employed Return to Work, and Do the Unemployed Find Work?

  • Michael J. Courtney
  • K. Mahawar
  • P. Burnell
  • N. Jennings
  • S. Balupuri
  • N. Schroeder
  • P. Small
  • W. Carr
Original Contributions



Bariatric surgery offers excellent weight loss results and improvement in obesity-associated comorbidities. Many patients undergoing surgery are of working age, and so an understanding of any relationship between occupational outcomes and surgery is essential. The aim of this study was to ascertain the occupational outcomes of patients undergoing bariatric surgery at a high-volume centre.


A retrospective search was performed of a prospectively maintained consecutive electronic database. We collected data on patient demographics and employment status before and after bariatric surgery. All patients with a documented employment status within 30 months of surgery were included. Patients were divided into three groups: within 6 months post-operatively, 7–18 months post-operatively, and 19–30 months post-operatively.


A total of 1011 patients were included. Median age was 47 years (range 18–78). Pre-operatively, 59.5% (444/746) were employed compared to 69.9% (707/1011) post-operatively (p < 0.05). The number of unemployed fell from 36.6% (273/746) pre-operatively to 21% (212/1011) post-operatively. The improvement in employment status was seen at all durations of follow-up. For those in employment pre-operatively, approximately 90% were still in employment at each subsequent follow-up. For those patients who were unemployed pre-operatively, approximately 40% were in employment at each subsequent follow-up. A significant improvement in the percentage employed was seen in all working age groups (p < 0.05).


This is the largest study worldwide looking at employment outcomes following bariatric surgery. It demonstrates a significant increase in number of employed patients following bariatric surgery. Interestingly, it also showed that some patients employed pre-operatively become unemployed afterwards.


Occupation Employment Obesity surgery Bariatric surgery Surgical outcomes Quality of life 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Not required.

Informed Consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Upper GI and Bariatric SurgerySunderland Royal HospitalSunderlandUK
  2. 2.Tyne and WearUK

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