According to the first study to show long-term alcohol use and issues in this cohort, adolescents who had metabolic and bariatric surgery as teenagers are more prone to drink.
After eight years, researchers found that more than half of the study subjects had alcohol use disorders, problems, or other indications of alcohol-related harm. Results have been published in the Annals of Surgery journal.
“The increased alcohol use we found in this study surpasses that expected from others in this age group in the general population,” said study author and principal investigator Thomas Inge, MD, PhD, Surgeon-in-Chief and Director of Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, as well as Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We also know the anatomic changes after surgery result in increased sensitivity to alcohol, so that ounce for ounce, greater effects and consequences of alcohol intake are seen after these operations.”
In the multicenter trial, 217 patients (aged 13 to 19) reported drinking alcohol prior to metabolic and bariatric surgery as well as every year for up to eight years afterward. Dr. Inge and colleagues discovered an eight-fold rise in potentially dangerous drinking, a five-fold rise in indications of alcohol-related damage, and a 13-fold rise in alcohol-related difficulties during the postoperative period.
“The persistent and concerning pattern of alcohol use in the years after surgery emphasizes the need to integrate screening, education, and guidance around alcohol use into the routine primary care for adolescents who have had surgery,” said Dr Inge, who also holds the Lydia J. Fredrickson Board Designated Professorship in Pediatric Surgery.