Tying Your Tummy

Gastric banding surgery for reducing obesity has poor long-term results

(RxWiki News) While most patients are satisfied after gastric banding surgery, experts say that the long-term results of the Lap-Band® weight loss surgery are not as strong as they should be.

In a recent study, Jacques Himpens, M.D., and colleagues looked at the effectiveness and safety of laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding - a weight loss surgery that involves tying a band around the upper part of the stomach so that a patient feels full on smaller amounts of food. The researchers found that about 60 percent of patients were satisfied with the results of their surgery, even though the data show high rates of complications and lower-than-expected weight-loss results.

dailyRx Insight: Gastric banding surgery may not help you tackle obesity.

Almost 40 percent had major complications, including erosion of the band. When this happens, the band decays into the stomach and usually needs to be removed, often leading to a redo of the gastric banding procedure.

Patients in the study lost about 43 percent of their excess weight after 12 years. However, patients who still had not lost their bands lost an average of 48 percent of excess weight. That's still not enough according to the experts, who say that 50 percent excess weight-loss is a good result.

The authors conclude that the large amount of complications and less-than-good weight loss results show that the gastric banding technique has "relatively poor long-term outcomes."

Obesity has definitively been linked to health complications including stroke, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which burden America with billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs. Also, obesity negatively impacts America's ability to compete in the global market by costing billions of dollars in lost productivity each year.

The study by Himpens and colleagues is published in the Archives of Surgery.

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Review Date: 
March 22, 2011