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Papers of the Week

2021 Apr 01

J Clin Med



Changes in Back Pain Scores after Bariatric Surgery in Obese Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.



Bariatric surgery produces significant and quantifiable reductions in back pain. However, there is a lack of information on the association of weight changes after bariatric surgery with changes in pain score. We aim to evaluate the impact of bariatric surgery on back pain in obese patients and to address the association between changes in body mass index (BMI) and pain score. In obese patients eligible for bariatric surgery, the changes in pre- and post-operative pain scores, assessed by the Numeric Rating Pain Scale (NPS) or Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), were considered as primary outcomes. Mean difference (MD) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were evaluated. Eight cohort studies were included in the analysis of 298 obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery. All studies showed a reduction in back pain, with a mean change of -2.9 points in NPS and of -3.8 cm in VAS. There was a significant reduction in back pain (NPS: (MD = -3.49) (95% CI = -3.86, -3.12); VAS: MD = -3.75, (95% CI = -4.13, -3.37)) and BMI (MD = -12.93, (95% CI = -13.61, -12.24)) following bariatric surgery. No significant relationship between BMI change and decrease in clinical scores could be established. However, it was evident that bariatric surgery had a significant effect on back pain scores in severely obese patients. Ideally, a prospective study including spinal imaging, inflammatory markers, a longer follow-up period, and larger study groups with a randomized control group needs to be performed.