Objectives This is a pilot report of the first 75 respondents undertaken as part of a larger study to assess if there is improvement in employability after bariatric surgery.
Methods An assessment of 75 patients who had undergone bariatric surgery between January 2005 and Dec 2008. Case note data extraction and a patient questionnaire was used to collect demographic data, pre-op and post-op morbidity, employment status and benefits being received.
Results 59 (79%) of the respondents were female. The average age at the time of the bariatric surgery was 44 years. The average pre-operative BMI was 49 and post-operatively 38 (p < 0.05); mean duration since operation of 5.6 years. Pre-operatively there was 151 obesity related co-morbidities and 63 (42%) post-operatively (p < 0.05). Total number employed pre and post operative was 53 (71%) and 47 (63%) respectively (non-significant). In the group employed pre-operatively, 39 (74%) remained employed post-operatively, 6 (11%) became unemployed sick/disabled, 4 (8%) became economically inactive due to looking after family/care/voluntary work, 2 (4%) retired, 1(2%) became a student and 1 (2%) was unemployed but seeking work. In the pre-operative group who were un-employed sick/disabled, 8 (73%) remained sick/disabled, 2 (20%) were now employed and 1 (9%) was unemployed but seeking work. A total of 59 state benefits where being received at the pre-operative stage and this only decreased a small amount to 56 (p = 0.38).
Conclusions The study suggests that despite improvements in BMI and co-morbidity there were non-significant changes in post-operative employment, the majority of the unemployed-sick disabled pre-operatively remaining unemployed sick/disabled post-operatively and there was a negligible decrease in benefits being received. An intervention study on the impact of vocational rehabilitation on retrun to work post bariatric surgery is needed to identify the rate of employment which can be improved by such action.
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