Bariatric Surgery and Maintaining Weight Loss

Weight-loss surgery helps people drop a significant amount of weight, but can patients maintain their weight loss? A new study confirms that much of the weight appears to stay off for at least 10 years.

This study suggests that patients interested in bariatric surgery, especially gastric bypass surgery, should be able to lose a significant amount of weight and keep that weight off for a very long time. While other research has found that weight-loss surgery is the most effective treatment for obese patients, there is less data on long-lasting effects. That’s what makes this new study exciting – because of a decade-long follow-up.

Gastric bypass surgery involves making the stomach smaller, and attaching the lower part of the small intestine directly to the stomach, so much of the small intestine is bypassed. After surgery, people feel much fuller, faster. The surgery also appears to alter gut hormones, gut bacteria and metabolism, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Weight Loss SurgeryAt the study’s one-year mark, those who had the bypass had lost 31 percent of their starting weight, but the non-surgical patients had lost just 1 percent. At 10 years, the researchers had weight information on 564 of the nearly 1,800 patients who had the gastric bypass. Only 19 of them had regained so much weight that they were nearly back to their starting weight; the rest kept off the weight. Compared to the non-surgical group, the bypass group weighed 21 percent less than at the start of the study.
Next, the researchers compared three types of weight-loss surgeries: gastric bypass; sleeve gastrectomy; and adjustable gastric banding. As with gastric bypass surgery, both of these procedures leave people feeling full faster.

After four years, those who had gastric bypass lost nearly 28 percent of their starting weight. People who had sleeve gastrectomy lost about 18 percent and those with gastric banding lost about 11 percent, the researchers found.

Weight-loss surgery is not a “cure” for obesity. Losing weight and maintaining the loss require commitment and lifestyle changes. If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in learning whether bariatric surgery is a good option for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda.

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