Weight-Loss Surgery Shown to Provide Long-Term Benefits

Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 04:26 PM

By Nick Tate

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Severely obese patients who undergo weight-loss surgery continue to derive health benefits — including better management of their weight — three years after having the procedure, according to new research by the University of Pittsburgh.

The findings, published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that most patients who underwent gastric bypass or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgical procedures had substantial weight loss over 36 months after surgery, with most occurring in the first year.
 
The study also found significant lasting improvements in obesity-related complications, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

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"Bariatric surgery is not a 'one size fits all' approach to weight loss," noted Anita Courcoulas, M.D., M.P.H., a bariatric and general surgeon at Magee-Womens Hospital who led the research. "Our study findings are the result of data collected from a multicenter patient population, and emphasize the heterogeneity in weight change and health outcomes for both types of bariatric surgery that we report.
 
"Longer-term follow-up of this carefully studied cohort will determine the durability of these improvements over time and identify the factors associated with the variability in effect."
 
For the study, researchers analyzed the medical charts of weight-loss surgery patients from 10 hospitals in six regions over the course of three years. The results showed patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding experienced median weight loss of nearly 32 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
 
Additionally, 67 percent of the gastric bypass patients experienced partial remission from diabetes, 38 percent remission from hypertension, and 61 percent had improved levels. For those who underwent laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, 28 percent and 17 percent experienced partial remission from diabetes and remission from hypertension, respectively, and high cholesterol was resolved in 27 percent of participants.
 
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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