A study examining weight change in patients of the Veterans Administration health system provides further evidence of the long-term benefits of bariatric surgery as a treatment for obesity.
Researchers examined 10-year weight loss results of veterans who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with nonsurgical matches and found that bariatric surgery led to significantly greater weight loss and that most of the weight loss was sustained long-term.
An additional examination of 4-year data compared the weight change differences between patients undergoing RYGB, adjustable gastric banding (AGB), and sleeve gastrectomy (SG).
For the study, differences in weight changes up to 10 years after surgery were estimated in retrospective groups of 1,787 veterans who underwent RYGB from January 1, 2000 through September 30, 2011 (81.9%, or 573 of 700 eligible, with 10-year follow-up), and 5,305 nonsurgical matches (67.4%, or 1274 of 1889 eligible, with 10-year follow-up) using mixed-effects models.
The 1787 patients undergoing RYGB had a mean age of 52, mean BMI of 47.7, and were 73.1% male; the 5305 nonsurgical matches had a mean age of 52, mean BMI of 47.1, and 73.7% male.
At 10 years:
- Patients undergoing RYGB lost 21% more of their baseline weight than nonsurgical matches
- 71.8% (405 of 564) of RYGB patients had more than 20% estimated weight loss, vs 10.8% (134 of 1247) of nonsurgical matches
- 39.7% (224 of 564) of RYGB patients had more than 30% estimated weight loss, vs 3.9% (48 of 1247) of nonsurgical matches
- Only 3.4% (19 of 564) patients undergoing RYGB regained weight back to within an estimated 5% of their baseline weight
An additional part of the study examined the differences in weight change up to 4 years among veterans undergoing RYGB (1785 patients), SG (379 patients), and AGB (246 patients).
At 4 years:
- RYGB patients lost 27.5% of their baseline weight, AGB patients lost 10.6%, and SG patients lost 17.8%
Conclusions and Relevance
The study researchers stated:
- “These results provide further evidence of the beneficial association between surgery and long-term weight loss.”
Two important aspects of this study are the long-term data and the high percentage of male patients. Many studies have been conducted showing the weight loss benefits of bariatric surgery, however, most studies are shorter-term, lasting only 1 to 3 years, and include primarily females. This study shows the benefits extend to both men and women with long-lasting results.
If you are interested in pursuing bariatric surgery, visit a bariatric surgeon to learn more about the surgical options, patient criteria, dietary recommendations, and realistic weight loss expectations.
Study Source: “Bariatric Surgery and Long-term Durability of Weight Loss,” JAMA Surgery, published online August 31, 2016.