10/07/2015 12:03 EDT | Updated 10/07/2016 01:12 EDT

Bariatric surgery successful for most, but failure raises suicide risk: study

TORONTO — A new study has found that bariatric surgery patients who don't achieve hoped-for weight loss have an increased risk of suicide in the years following the operation.

Gastric-bypass surgery is highly successful for most people, but about one to two per cent of patients have disappointing results — and that can lead to self-harm.

The Ontario study found the risk of attempted suicide rose 54 per cent in a small group of patients when comparing the three years following the operation compared to the three years before.

The risk for self-harm was highest for patients age 35 or older and among those with a lower income or living in a rural area.

Lead researcher Dr. Donald Redelmeier says the findings underscore the need for psychological followup of patients for a prolonged period — and not just in the months immediately after surgery.

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences study of almost 9,000 gastric-bypass patients showed 111 patients attempted suicide, most often by intentional drug overdose. The research is published in the journal JAMA Surgery.

The Canadian Press