Preoperative Opioid Prescription Patients Do Not Suffer Distinct Outcomes After Bariatric Surgery: a Matched Analysis of Outcomes



While over 200 million opioid prescriptions are written annually for chronic pain in the USA, little has been written on the impact of opioids on bariatric surgery, specifically on the effects of prescription opioid use on weight loss post laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG).

Materials and Methods

We completed a matched-cohort, retrospective review in 1176 consecutive patients undergoing primary bariatric surgery at a single institution. Patients were grouped into chronic prescription opioid users (POU), defined as ongoing opioid use for > 3 months at the time of surgery, and opioid-naïve controls (CON), defined as no opioid use prior to surgery. About 130 POU and 130 CON patients were then matched according to preoperative comorbid conditions and demographics.


Percent total weight loss was similar at 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years in POU and CON—9.6 ± 5.8 vs 8.9 ± 4.5 (p = 0.057), 18.4 ± 7.2 vs 18.5 ± 7.2% (p = 0.901), 28.0 ± 9.4 vs 27.9 ± 12.9% (p = 0.894), 30.3 ± 13.0 vs 32.8 ± 9.0% (p = 0.387), and 31.4 ± 12.7 vs 36.9 ± 21.3% (p = 0.369), respectively. The 30-day readmission, reoperation, venothrombotic event rate, bleeding rate, and infection rate were similar in POU compared to CON patients.


Complications and weight loss outcomes are similar for prescription opioid users compared to opioid-naïve controls following bariatric surgery. Chronic prescription opioid use is not a contraindication to bariatric surgery.

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The authors would like to thank Brenda Michaels, RN, for her help with data collection.

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Correspondence to Nicole Shockcor.

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Shockcor, N., Adnan, S.M., Siegel, A. et al. Preoperative Opioid Prescription Patients Do Not Suffer Distinct Outcomes After Bariatric Surgery: a Matched Analysis of Outcomes. OBES SURG 30, 4014–4018 (2020).

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  • Bariatric surgery
  • Opioid
  • Weight loss
  • Narcotic use