Bariatric surgery prolongs life more than a lifestyle change

Bariatric surgery prolongs life more than a lifestyle change

A new study has found that obese patients who had bariatric surgery had a lower rate of death compared to those who had opted for the non-surgical approach.

The study was conducted by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, US, and the Clalit Research Institute in Israel.

It involved looking at 8,385 obese patients in Israel who underwent bariatric surgery from 2005-2014, as well as 25,155 obese patients who received non-surgical care.

Its aim was to answer questions about the overall dangers and long-term risks of having bariatric, or weight loss, surgery.

A longer life but greater risks

Results showed that obese, middle-aged men and women who had bariatric surgery had half the death rate of those that had traditional medical treatment over a ten-year period.

Laura Rasmussen-Torvik, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Feinberg and co-author of the study, said: Bariatric surgery is “highly effective in promoting weight loss but also invasive and can lead to short- and long-term complications.

“In order for patients and doctors to make the best-informed decisions about what weight loss strategies to pursue, they need to understand the true costs and benefits of the procedures.”

Complications following bariatric surgery include anaemia, vitamin and protein deficiency. However, the study did not show a high rate of these issues among those who had the weight loss procedure.

The three types of bariatric surgery

The study, which has been published in JAMA, investigated three types of bariatric surgery:

• Roux-en-Y gastric bypass – the most common procedure, it creates a pouch in the top of the stomach and limits the amount of food a person can eat;
• Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding – restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold with an adjustable band; and
• Sleeve gastrectomy – reduces the size of the stomach and helps make you feel full much quicker.

Gastric surgery has become increasingly popular in Israel.

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