Healthy Living

Is Gastric Bypass Effective for Weight Loss?

Is Gastric Bypass Effective for Weight Loss?

Key Takeaways

A new study that was published in the journal, Archives of Surgery, shows that gastric banding may not be as effective as gastric bypass surgery in regards to weight loss. Gastric banding is considered to be safer and simpler than gastric bypass surgery, and many overweight and obese people are opting for gastric banding. The new study proves that gastric banding may not be good for better and long-lasting effects of weight loss.

In this study, participants were studied for a period of six years, and the results show that obese people who had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgeries lost more weight with long-lasting effects, compared to gastric banding. The people who underwent bypass surgery had more complications immediately after the surgery. People who had gastric banding had more surgical failures and long-term complications, when compared to those who had bypass surgery.

“One of the most important things to be considered is the surgical competency”, says Jacques Himpens, MD, of the European School of Laparoscopy in Brussels, Belgium. Obesity is very common among the US population, with 15 million people belonging to the morbidly obese category. These individuals are normally between 50 to 100 pounds over their healthy weight. They usually have a body mass index over 40. People opting for weight loss surgeries are increasing considerably.

In Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, the size of the stomach is reduced by 90% to 95%. The surgery bypasses a section of the small intestine thus reducing the absorption of calories. In gastric banding the stomach size is restricted by using an adjustable ring or band. Another type of weight loss surgery, called the gastric sleeve surgery, the size of the stomach is reduced through surgery but the small intestine is not bypassed.

Results of the study comparing the outcomes of gastric banding and gastric bypass surgery show that:

  • After three years of surgery, only 7% of those who underwent bypass surgery remained obese, when compared to 22% of those who underwent gastric banding
  • After six years the number of people who had a BMI over 35 was trippled with the gastric banding, when compared to those who had bypass surgeries
  • After six years, only 2.4% of the patients who had gastric bypass surgery remained morbidly obese, while 14% of those who had gastric banding were obese
  • About 17% of the patients who had bypass surgeries had immediate complications, while the rate was 5% in the gastric banding group. After six years, 41% of the patients who had gastric band had long-term complications while only 19% of the bypass surgery group reported the same.

Out of the 221 patients who had gastric banding, 47 of them got their bands removed. “This study clearly shows that gastric bypass surgery is superior to gastric banding in treating morbidly obese patients”, says Ronald H. Clements, MD, who directs the bariatric surgery program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He adds that the result is not a surprise and as per his experience, about 25% of the patients with gastric bands get the bands removed due to various reasons like slippage, erosion, or failure to lose weight.