Gastric Bypass Surgery More Effective For Weight Loss

Graphic of a gastric bypass using a Roux-en-Y anastomosis.

Gastric bypass surgery is far more effective against morbid obesity than gastric banding, leading to weight loss that is faster and longer-lasting, a new Swiss study says. According to HealthDay News, the benefits come with an increased risk, however. Gastric bypass is reversible, reducing stomach size through staples and connecting the smaller portion of the stomach directly to the intestine. Gastric banding, meanwhile, reduces stomach size through a removable band.

“Both gastric banding and gastric bypass are currently performed for morbid obesity,” explained lead researcher Michel Suter of the Chablais Hospital in Aigle. “Bypass is more effective in terms of direct results such as weight loss, but a bit more dangerous immediately than banding.”

To reach their conclusions, Suter and his colleagues followed more than 400 patients who underwent either gastric bypass or banding surgery during the six years following their operations. Bypass surgery yielded complications in 17 percent of the patients, while banding only adversely affected five percent. However, six years down the road, 48 percent of gastric banding patients had regained weight compared with 12 percent who had bypass surgery.

Suter highlighted the disparity between the two surgeries, and noted that long-term complications are more commonly connected with banding.

“Many bands are not going to stay in place for much more than 10 years; hence, banding is unlikely to be the only weight-loss procedure the patient will be submitted to,” he said. “Patients should make a choice knowing this, and decide whether they accept a slightly higher early risk to improve their results, or if they want the least invasive procedure, but then accept a high risk of further surgery at a later time.”

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