Gastric bypass results in faster, more sustained weight loss than gastric banding, and with fewer complications, according to a new study.
In one of the longest studies of the two common procedures in the United States that limit the amount of food the stomach can hold, researchers studying 400 patients in Switzerland found that weight loss remained "significantly better" six years after gastric bypass compared with patients who received a gastric band, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Michel Suter, chief surgeon of the Hôpital du Chablais, in Aigle, Switzerland, and colleagues reported the results online Monday in the the Jan. 16 edition of Archives of Surgery.
Based on the study, they argued that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass "seems clearly superior," and morbidly obese patients should be informed of the results, according to HealthDay Reporter.
"Both gastric banding and gastric bypass are currently performed for morbid obesity," Suter reportedly said. "Bypass is more effective in terms of direct results such as weight loss, but a bit more dangerous immediately than banding."
However, he said, banding often led to long-term complications requiring major surgery.
Nearly half of patients who chose gastric banding in the study were still obese after six years, while those patients also had more long-term problems and follow-up operations.
Suter also pointed out that a gastric bypass operation — with reduces the stomach size with staples and connects the smaller "pouch" directly to the small intestine — was irreversible, whereas gastric banding — in which a band is placed around part of the stomach to reduce its size — could be temporary.
"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 reportedly 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."
An estimated 220,000 Americans have weight loss surgery every year — double the number of a decade ago, according to CBS.