(RxWiki News) Gastric bypass surgery is a popular procedure that helps patients lose weight by limiting the amount of food the body can consume. A recent study has found that a follow-up procedure known as body contouring can help patients maintain a healthy weight years after bypass surgery.
The researchers found that patients who underwent body contouring after bypass surgery gained fewer pounds after 7 years than individuals who did not have the follow-up procedure.
Body contouring is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin in patients who have lost a significant amount of weight.
The authors of the study concluded that body contouring should be recommended by surgeons for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight in order to maintain their bodily figure.
"Talk to your doctor about what to expect from gastric bypass surgery."
Ali Modarressi, MD, Chief of Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery Department of Clinic University Hospitals of Geneva, and colleagues aimed to determine whether body contouring could help patients lose weight and maintain a healthy figure long after bypass surgery.
The researchers compared two different groups of patients between 1997 and 2007. The first group consisted of 98 patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery and body contouring. The second group consisted of 102 patients who underwent bypass surgery only.
Before bypass surgery, all the patients weighed on average 275 pounds. Approximately 12 to 18 months after bypass surgery, the patients weighed on average 173 pounds.
Body contouring was performed on 98 patients about 2 years after bypass surgery. Before the procedure, the average weight was about the same in both groups. The researchers found that after two years, participants who did not undergo body contouring started to regain a significant amount of weight.
Patients who went through a body contouring procedure gained on an average one pound per year, whereas patients who did not go through the procedure gained an on average four pounds per year.
The researchers found that body contouring patients only gained an average 10.5 pounds five years following the procedure. In contrast, patients who only underwent bypass surgery gained an average 44 pounds during this time.
The amount of weight loss was also higher in patients who underwent body contouring than in patients who did not undergo the procedure. The average body weight loss was 67 percent in patients who underwent body contouring and 38.5 percent in patients who underwent bypass surgery alone.
In the entire seven years of the study, 25 percent of body contouring patients gained backed 10 percent of their weight. Fifty-eight percent of patients who only had bypass surgery gained back 10 percent of their weight.
The researchers reported that there were some limitations to this study. Some participants were denied body contouring procedures because their health insurance would not cover it.
Furthermore, body contouring patients may have lost more weight than those who did not have the surgery because the procedure consisted of removing excess skin. However, the amount of skin removed during these procedures was too small to be regarded as significant by the researchers.
"We demonstrated for the first time that patients who underwent body contouring after massive surgical weight loss presented better long-term weight control. Therefore, we suggest that body contouring should be encouraged by bariatric surgeons,” Dr. Modarressi and colleagues wrote.
This study was published in the October issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The authors declared no financial interests in relation to this study.