Effects of bariatric surgery on disability pension in Swedish obese subjects

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Prospective controlled data on the long-term effects of bariatric surgery on disability pension are not available. This study prospectively compare disability pension in surgically and conventionally treated obese men and women.


The Swedish obese subjects study started in 1987 and involved 2010 obese patients who had bariatric surgery and 2037 contemporaneously matched obese controls, who received conventional treatment. Outcomes of this report were: (i) incidence of disability pension from study inclusion to 31 December 2006 in all subjects, and, (ii) number of disability pension days over 10 years in a subgroup of individuals (N=2901) followed for at least 10 years where partial pensions were recalculated to full number of days per year. Objective information on granted disability pension was obtained from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and disability pension follow-up rate was 99.9%.


In men, the unadjusted incidence of disability pension did not differ between the surgery and control groups (N=156 in both groups). When adjusting for baseline confounders in men, a reduced risk of disability pension was suggested in the surgery group (hazard ratio 0.79, 95% confidence interval 0.62-1.00; P=0.05). Furthermore, the adjusted average number of disability pension days was lower in the surgery group, 609 versus 734 days (P=0.01). In women, bariatric surgery was not associated with significant effects on incidence or number of days of disability pension.


Bariatric surgery may be associated with favourable effects on disability pension for up to 19 years in men whereas neither favourable nor unfavourable effects could be detected in women.

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