Incidence of Substance Use Disorder Following Bariatric Surgery: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Melissa Butt, Riley A. Eisler, Antoinette Hu, Ann M. Rogers, Andrea Rigby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: New-onset substance use disorder (SUD) following bariatric surgery is a significant concern that is likely multi-factorial, although the etiologies are unclear. Previous studies have identified variable rates of SUD along with utilizing different methods and measures. The objective of this study is to evaluate new-onset SUD diagnoses among adults following bariatric surgery and compare these rates to those in the general population as well as those diagnosed with overweight or obesity. Methods: Data was extracted from TriNetX Research Platform and used to build three cohorts of adults: those who had bariatric surgery (bariatric surgery cohort), those diagnosed with obesity or overweight, and a general population cohort. Rates of incident SUD were compared among these three groups. Initial encounters for all individuals were from January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. Results: The incidence rate of SUD in patients with a history of bariatric surgery was 6.55% (n = 2523). When compared to the general population, persons who had any type of bariatric procedure had a decreased risk of new-onset SUD with an overall odds ratio (OR) [95% confidence limits (CL)] of 0.89 [0.86, 0.93]. When compared to persons with overweight or obesity, bariatric patients were less likely to develop any form of SUD (OR: 0.65 [0.62, 0.67]). Conclusion: While overall rates of new-onset SUD are lower among those who had bariatric surgery, they also vary by surgery and substance type. Efforts should still be made to address new-onset SUD in order to optimize the post-surgical care of patients. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-896
Number of pages7
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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