Weight loss surgery has always been suggested to improve survival among severely obese patients. According to new research published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), bariatric surgery reduced mortality 5 to 10 years after Veterans had surgery (Afterburn et al. 2015).
In the study, 2,500 patients underwent bariatric surgery in Veterans Affairs (VA) bariatric centers from 2000-2011 and matched them to 7,462 control patients using sequential stratification. The average age for the patients was 52 with a body mass index (BMI) of 47. The patients either had gastric bypass (74%), gastric banding (10%), sleeve gastrectomy (1%) or another procedure that included 1 percent of patients (Afterburn et al. 2015).
Gastric bypass is the most common of the three procedures in which the stomach is divided into a small upper section and larger bottom section. The small intestine is then rerouted to the small upper area, assuming the patient will eat less food. Gastric banding deals with the placement of an inflatable band around the top portion of the stomach, creating a much smaller stomach, while sleeve gastrectomy involves the removal of around 80 percent of the stomach (Whiteman 2015).
When the 14-year study ended, there were 263 deaths in the surgical group (average follow-up, 6.9 years) and 1,277 deaths in the matched control group (average follow-up, 6.6 years). The deaths rates estimated by Kaplan-Meier were 2.4% after 1 year, 6.4% at 5 years, and 13.8% after 10 years for patients who underwent surgery; for match control individuals, 1.7% after 1 year, 10.4% for 5 years, and 23.9 percent at 10 years (Afterburn et al. 2015). As you can see, patients who underwent weight loss surgery between 5 to 10 years had significantly lower mortality rates.
I truly understand how difficult it is for morbidly obese individuals to lose weight and having weight loss surgery is an option to consider with you doctor. Diet and exercise is important for any healthy lifestyle change and a recent study shows that diet pills or weight loss supplements rarely work. The results from this study show the beneficial relation between surgery and survival that has been demonstrated in younger, female populations.
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Source: Afterburn DE, Olsen MK, Smith VA, et al. “Association Between Bariatric Surgery and Long-term Survival” 6 January 2015. JAMA 2015