In the past week many journalists across the United States discussed a  recent JAMA study that showed alcoholism to be higher in the second year after gastric bypass. The reactions to the findings varied from reporter to reporter, however the conclusion was still the same…..weightloss surgery for many, saves lives.


We have previous data showing alcohol is metabolized much differently after gastric bypass compared to non operated obese people and different even compared to other types of bariatric operations.  The blood alcohol level rises faster, rises higher and takes longer to normalize after gastric bypass compared to the other operations (or controls). 

Now we have the current study showing an association between higher “alcohol abuse disorder” in the second year after Roux n Y Gastric Bypass (RnYGB), but not in other types of weight loss operations, and not in the first year after operation.  The preoperative rate of alcohol abuse was 7.6%, 7.3% in the first year and 9.6% in the second year after gastric bypass.  The study period was only two years after operation.

This association needs to be defined further.  The study does not show cause and effect, but is nevertheless important.  At WeightWise, we tell all of our weight loss surgery patients to abstain from alcohol for one year after operation, and then be very judicious afterwards. 

Gregory F. Walton, MD, FACS

WeightWise Bariatric Program is comprehensive by design. Our pre and post operative program give extra support to patients through diet, exercise, psychology and weekly support groups. One-on-one consultations are available to discuss such issues as alcoholism, divorce, anxiety and other life changing events with the WeightWise Team Psychologist, Dr. Jim Keller. For more information, please click on the links below!

Important Links

JAMA Article: RNYGB and Alcoholism

WeightWise Support Group Calendar

Dr. Jim Keller

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