Weight-loss surgery may reverse liver damage in obese: Study
Weight-loss surgery in severely obese liver patients can reverse early-stage liver fibrosis - the thickening and scarring of liver tissue - by reducing fat deposits, a promising study reveals.
Bariatric surgery can also result in significant improvement in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to new research.
"Doctors should consider bariatric surgery as the treatment of choice for NAFLD in severely obese patients," said Michel Murr, a professor of surgery at University of South Florida-Tampa.
Bariatric surgery be considered for patients with a body mass index greater than 35 and obesity-related co-morbidities, or a body mass index of greater than 40, Murr suggested.
Researchers compared liver biopsies from 152 patients - one at the time of the bariatric procedure and a second an average of 29 months afterwards.
After reviewing post-operative biopsies, they found that bariatric surgery resulted in improvements for these patients.
In the post-operative biopsies, researchers found that fat deposits on the liver resolved in 70 percent of patients.
Inflammation was also improved.
Murr noted that these findings on fibrosis reversal apply only to early-stage fibrosis and not late-stage liver disease.
"As a tool in fighting obesity, bariatric surgery could also help prevent the emergence of widespread liver disease," he added in the study that appeared in the journal Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
(Posted on 05-05-2014)