Saturday, August 18, 2007

Does fibromyalgia improve after weight loss surgery?

Well, there are not too many studies that specifically address this issue. Of course the medical literature is full of evidence that musculoskeletal painful conditions in weight-bearing joints do improve with weight loss surgery in the vast majority of patients. However, when it comes to non-weight-bearing joints, and to fibromyalgia in particular, such information is scarce.

However, a study from the University Hospitals of Cleveland that was published in January 2007 did, indeed address that issue. (1)

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is one of the most common musculoskeletal diseases. Patients have fatigue, chronic diffuse musculoskeletal pains, poor sleep, and stiffness. There is no blood test to diagnose fibromyalgia. To make a diagnosis of FMS, widespread pain symptoms must exist for at least 3 months. The diagnosis is confirmed by finding at least 11 of 18 specific areas of point tenderness. Almost 9:1 patients are females.

In the study from Cleveland, FMS decreased by an impressive 90% after bariatric surgery. As for upper extremity pain, that is, of course,non-weight-bearing, 79% of patients had pain before surgery, compared to 40% after bariatric surgery.


(1) Hooper MM, Stellato TA, Hallowell PT, Seitz BA, Moskowitz RW. Musculoskeletal findings in obese subjects before and after weight loss following bariatric surgery. Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Jan;31(1):114-20.