Study finds unexpected side effect of bypass surgery


We all know gastric bypass surgery can help you lose weight, but a first of its kind study at Stanford University's School of Medicine found the surgery patients' family members will also shed the pounds.

"This is a problem that affects the whole family and the whole family can work to fix this problem," said John Morton, Ph.D., M.D., from Stanford.

There were 85 people that participated in the study; 60 percent of adult family members were obese and 73 percent of surgery patients' children were also obese. The study guidelines required patients and their families to receive dietary and lifestyle counseling. According to the study's senior author, all of this led to weight loss for every single participant.

"They want to keep up with what the patient is doing, want to reinforce what the patient is doing, so a lowering of weight raises all boats, if you will," said Morton.

That's exactly what happened in the Wizner household.

"I started at 289 pounds before surgery; I'm currently 169 pounds," said bypass patient Gary Wisner.

His weight loss was vital for his health. He noticed as he gained weight, so did his family. And once he had gastric bypass surgery, he lost weight and his family followed suit.

"Everyone in our family was dieting, eating differently, not going out to eat and the social reason to get together, eating together, was becoming less and less important," said Wisner.

Wisner's wife and son lost a total of 30 pounds, but the positive effects of Wisner's surgery didn't stop at home. He is an orthopedic surgeon and Wisner noticed his patients and co-workers lost weight, too.

The full report and its findings are now available in the Archives of Surgery.

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