Today, more and more severely obese people have considered surgical approaches to reducing weight, particularly as evidence emerges that for many individuals, surgical approaches offer the best long-term success. Once someone decides on surgery, however, choices still remain- what type of surgery works best? For millions of Americans considering this question, a new study offers some guidance.
In the Archive of Surgery a recent study looked at the laparascopic (not highly invasive) gastric bypass surgery versus gastric lap-bands (even less invasive) to examine surgical outcomes. The study looked at 200 evenly matched, morbidly obese, diabetic patients who were treated with either surgery (100 with each type of surgery).
You might be surprised (we were) at the findings: those who had the gastric bypass surgery lost 64% of their excess weight after a year compared to 36% in the lap-band group. Diabetes resolved, yes resolved, in 76% vs 50% in favor of gastric by-pass, and quality of life also improved in this group. Seems like a slam dunk, right? Well, in reality, almost. The lap band, which is actually a more popular choice because it seems like a smaller procedure, did have less initial complications than the gastric by-pass, (2% vs 11%), but a higher rate for reoperation than the lap-band (13% vs 2%). Overall complications were the same.
We have to keep in mind that both surgeries are potentially complicated, and may not be for everyone. But if you do decide to pursue weight loss surgery, we would recommend you a) talk with your bariatric surgeon about these results, and b) have the surgery performed where they do they perform lots of these procedures, and c) ask your doctor how much weight you really need to lose.