Gastric Bypass Riskier But Helps People Drop More Weight

A new study comparing gastric bypass and gastric banding, two common types of weight-loss surgery, found that those who undergo gastric bypass lose more weight, but are also more likely to experience complications.

Gastric bypass not only reduces the size of the stomach but also includes rerouting of the small intestine, so not all of the calories from food are absorbed. Gastric banding uses an adjustable band to create a smaller stomach pouch.

Researchers compared the results of 5,800 patients who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery and 1,200 who had gastric banding.

Those who choose gastric bypass lost almost twice the weight of those who had gastric banding, but they were also more than twice as likely to have major complications.

The study showed that within a month after surgery, 3 percent of the bypass patients had experienced a major complication, compared to just 1.3 percent of the banding patients.

Gastric banding patients, however, required additional surgical interventions about 14 percent of the time, compared to 5.5 in the bypass group, suggesting that in the long-term, gastric bypass is more effective.

“We found important differences in short- and long-term health outcomes for the procedures across 10 healthcare systems in the United States.” Wrote a team of researchers led by Dr. David Arterburn Seattle’s Group Health Research Institute. “Severely obese patients should be well informed of these differences when they make their decisions about treatment.”

Currently, about 80 percent of all weight-loss surgeries are gastric bypass procedures, with gastric sleeves outpacing gastric banding in the remaining 20 percent, experts saiy. The study appeared in the journal JAMA Surgery.

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