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Weight Loss Surgery: Are You at Risk for Suicide?

Summary: What are your chances of increased suicide behavior after weight-reduction surgery?
Air Date: 12/4/15
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Amir A. Ghaferi, MD
Amir Dr. Amir A. Ghaferi graduated summa cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA in 2001, received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2005, and completed his general surgery residency at the University of Michigan in 2012.

Dr. Ghaferi also completed a health services research fellowship with the Michigan Surgical Collaborative for Outcomes Research and Evaluation group and obtained a Masters degree in Health and Healthcare Research during this time. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the School of Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. At the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Healthcare System, he is the Chief of General Surgery and Founder/Director of the Bariatric Surgery Program which serves Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.

Dr. Ghaferi's clinical practice is devoted to advanced laparoscopy, including gastroesophageal reflux surgery, bariatric surgery, and abdominal wall and groin hernias. He is also very active in medical student and resident education. He is currently the third year medical student clerkship director at the VA hospital and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Academic Surgeon Development Program aimed at implementing a structured curriculum for students interested in a surgical career from the undergraduate to graduate level. Dr. Ghaferi is also a core faculty member in the Medical School's Health Policy Path of Excellence.

Dr. Ghaferi's research focuses on understanding the relationship of organizational culture to quality and efficiency, with the ultimate goal of designing interventions to improve care locally, regionally, and nationally. He is currently a co-investigator on an NIH funded grant that seeks to assess the micro-system resources, the safety attitudes and culture, and the safety-related practices and behaviors that are potentially related to "failure to rescue" –the ability to recognize and manage major postoperative complications. Dr. Ghaferi also holds a career development award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to evaluate the organizational dynamics contributing to failure to rescue. He has also been awarded the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program Grant through the National Center for Minority Health Disparities specifically to study racial disparities in surgical safety. His research has been published in prominent journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Medical Care, and Annals of Surgery.

Dr. Ghaferi is an active member of several national societies (American College of Surgeons, AcademyHealth, Association for Academic Surgery, and Phi Beta Kappa). He serves on a national Outcomes Research Committee for the Association for Academic Surgery, as well as several institutional committees. He has received numerous national awards, including the Association for Academic Surgery Resident Research Award, American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Paper Competition, American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Foundation Merit Award, and the International Society of Gastrointestinal Oncology Education Grant.
Weight Loss Surgery: Are You at Risk for Suicide?
If you've been struggling with losing weight and you feel like you're running out of new diets and exercise trends to try, you may be considering weight loss surgery.

Weight loss surgery can help those who are morbidly obese.

Unfortunately, people who are morbidly obese also oftentimes suffer from mental health problems.

Recent research has found that suicide risk might increase for some people after weight loss surgery.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Surgery and looked at 8,800 patients in Ontario for three years before and after their weight loss procedures.

Out of that group, 111 patients had 158 self-harm emergencies during the follow-up period and about 93 percent of those suicide attempts occurred in patients diagnosed with a mental health disorder prior to surgery.

What else did the researchers find?

Amir A. Ghaferi, MD, MS, joins Dr. Leigh to discuss weight loss surgery and who is at risk for a higher suicide rate.