This is a New York State Inpatient Database, 2004-2013, retrospective study. The study’s primary goal was to compare the prevalence of spinal diagnoses and operations before and after bariatric surgery (BS). 

Reducing the frequent comorbidities associated with morbid obesity and increasing patient quality of life is an important goal of BS treatment for this condition. Neither the prevalence of BS nor its connection to spinal diseases nor the outcomes of surgical interventions has been studied. Patients who underwent BS and were seen at the hospital before and after treatment were included in the analysis. Researchers used  χ2 tests for categorical variables to compare pre-BS spinal problems and surgical rates with post-BS rates. Rates in BS patients were compared to rates in a control group of nonoperative morbidly obese patients using multivariate logistic regression analysis. All confounding factors, including age and biological sex, were taken into account in the statistical analysis.

Aged 67.88±17.66 years with a female preponderance of 56.1%, 73,046 BS patients were included. Patients with morbid obesity who did not undergo bariatric surgery were included in the regression analysis (299,504; age 53.45±16.52 y; 65.6% female). As a whole, the prevalence of spinal symptoms dropped after BS (7.40% to 5.14%, P<0.001). The percentage of patients diagnosed with cervical spine problems decreased from 3.28% to 2.99%, 2.91% to 2.57%, and 5.39% to 3.92% (all P<0.001). Obese non bariatric patients are more likely to have encounters associated with multiple cervicals, thoracic, or lumbar spinal diagnoses and procedures, especially for cervical spontaneous compression fracture, radicular pain, spontaneous lumbar compression fractures, lumbar spinal stenosis, lumbar spondylosis, and controlling for comorbidities, age, and sex. 

The comorbidity burden for numerous parameters was drastically reduced by BS. Among the severely overweight, BS reduced the incidence of spinal problems and surgical interventions. These results show that BS has additional health benefits, such as a lower rate of healthcare visits and surgical intervention for spinal diseases.