Bariatric surgery may alleviate symptoms in patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, according to research presented at the 2015 American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The researchers believe that their results suggest that losing weight can reduce symptoms in patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

The study included 9,073 patients who underwent bariatric surgery and were treated at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Weight Management Program from 2002 to 2013. Among these patients, 86 had psoriasis before their operation, 21 of whom had comorbid psoriatic arthritis. The researchers compared the severity of patients’ symptoms before and after undergoing weight-loss surgery. On average, patients lost 46.2% of their pre-surgery excess weight.

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Patients with psoriasis had significant reductions in disease severity scores after surgery, with an average decrease of 5.6 to 4.4 (on a 0 to 10 rating scale). The average score of patients with psoriatic arthritis declined from 6.5 to 4.5. For patients with severe psoriasis, disease severity scores decreased from 7.7 to 5.7. For those with severe psoriatic arthritis, scores declined from 8.2 to 4.8.

Overall, 55% of patients with psoriasis and 62% of patients with psoriatic arthritis reported symptom improvement after surgery. Patients who lost the most weight after surgery reported the most significant improvements in their symptoms.

“Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are chronic inflammatory conditions that can be quite uncomfortable and often painful for patients, so any treatment that might reduce symptoms may improve quality of life,” said Soumya Reddy, MD, co-director of NYU Langone’s Psoriatic Arthritis Center. “Our new study shows that those who shed excess weight could see significant symptomatic relief.”

Editor’s note: This article was updated on 11/20/15.


  1. Sethi M, Ren-Fielding C, Caminer AC, et al. Clinical improvements in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis with surgical weight loss [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015; 67 (suppl 10). Accessed November 10, 2015.