Obese patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery are able to keep their weight down for as long as 12 years, a team of researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers, led by Ted D. Adams of Intermountain Healthcare, analyzed the cases of 1,156 severely obese patients and compared the results of those who had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery with those who did not. Those who did not have the surgery did not lose much weight. Those who did have surgery reported weight losses after two years of an average of 99 pounds.
Similar results were reported after six years, and the benefits persisted as long as 12 years. That left the surgery patients on average with 77 fewer pounds, a 26.9 percent weight loss, plus lower blood pressure and reduced problems with diabetes.
“This study further confirms the long-term durability of gastric bypass surgery,” Adams told Reuters Health.
Weight-loss experts who were not part of the study said the results should prompt insurance plans to cover the surgery.
Jaime Ponce, medical director for bariatric surgery at CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn., told Reuters: “We must change the thinking about obesity and begin to remove the policy, social, medical, discriminatory, economic and perceptual barriers that deny people appropriate treatment and support before more people get sick or die.”