Gastric bypass surgery has weight loss and other health benefits in patients for up to 12 years, a new US study reveals.
The research also revealed that half of patients with type 2 diabetes were free of the condition 12 years after having the surgery. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol were additional benefits.
“This study further confirms the long-term durability of gastric bypass surgery,” lead author Dr. Ted Adams, Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah, told Reuters Health.
Gastric bypass surgery involves shrinking the stomach so food can bypass part of the small intestine. The procedure can improve blood sugar regulatio, and it is a successful technique, albeit an extreme one, to help reverse type 2 diabetes.
In the study 1,156 patients with severe obesity were split into three groups, only one of which received Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. The other two were non-surgery groups, separated by their desire to receive surgery.
Among the patients who had type 2 diabetes before surgery, remission occurred in 75 per cent at two years, 62 per cent at six years and 51 per cent at 12 years. Three per cent of the surgery group still had type 2 diabetes at 12 years, while this figure was 26 per cent in the control group.
In regard to weight loss, 93 per cent of the surgery group maintained at least a 10 per cent weight loss up until year 12; 70 per cent maintained at least a 20 per cent weight loss; and 40 per cent maintained at least a 30 per cent weight loss.
Blood markers for heart disease, such as total cholesterol, collective improved among the surgery group, a significant improvement on one of the control groups, but not the other.
Dr Jaime Ponce, medical director for bariatric surgery at CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said: “What we can learn from this paper is that we have a very effective treatment tool for severe obese patients with associated medical problems.”
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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