Gastric bypass appears to help patients keep weight off for two years or more, according to a new analysis.
"The question was always, what's it going to be like in the long term?" said Dr. Noel Williams, one of the authors of the study and the director of the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr Williams and his colleagues pooled the results from 22 studies that tracked more than 4 200 patients after gastric bypass surgery. The follow-up ranged from two years to more than 12.
People lost about 66% of their excess weight, and kept it off over time, according to a report online in Annals of Surgery. Williams said that a 65% to 75% reduction in excess weight is considered an excellent result from surgery.
The results "provide support for the long term efficacy for gastric bypass," he said.
Weight loss is the goal
According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, about 220 000 people underwent weight loss surgery in 2009.
Noting that weight loss is only one goal of the surgery, Williams added that "what we also need to look at is improvement in comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, all these other problems in morbidly obese patients."
Other studies have shown that weight loss surgery can reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (see Reuters Health reports of January 4, 2012 and June 23, 2011).
"There is no question there is some weight regain, but I think the durability of the results (in terms of weight loss) is pretty well expected and confirmed by this particular paper," said Dr Nicolas Christou, a bariatric surgeon on the faculty at McGill University, who did not participate in the study.
(Reuters Health, June 2012)
What is gastric bypass surgery?