Obese patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass had higher percentages of weight loss at long-term follow-up, compared with obese patients who underwent other surgical procedures or who did not undergo surgery, according to a large, cohort study published in JAMA Surgery.

While prior research has clearly demonstrated that bariatric surgery is the most effective intervention for inducing weight loss among obese patients, the majority of those studies were short term; therefore, there is little known about the durability of weight loss following bariatric surgery, wrote Matthew Maciejewski, PhD, of Duke University, Durham, N.C., and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center and his associates.

This study compared the 10-year weight change in patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass to patients who did not receive bariatric surgical intervention of any kind. A total of 1,787 patients who had undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery were identified and matched by investigators to one or more patients with similar demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, body mass index, diabetes diagnosis). A total of 5,305 nonsurgical matches were selected for analysis. For the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass group, mean age was 52.1 years, and for the nonsurgical matches mean age was 52.2 years. Both groups were predominantly male (73.1% and 73.7%, respectively) and had high 10-year follow-up rates of 81.9% for surgical patients and 67.4% for nonsurgical matches (JAMA Surgery. 2016. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2016.2317 ).

The study’s primary outcome of percentage change in weight at 10-year follow-up, compared with baseline strongly favored Roux-en-Y gastric bypass over no surgical intervention. At the 10-year time point, patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass had lost 21.3% more of their baseline weight than nonsurgical matches.

Remarkably, only 3.4% of patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass were within 5% of their original baseline weight at 10 years while 55.5% of those who did not receive surgical intervention had regained most of their weight.

Additionally, investigators compared percentage change in weight at 4-year follow-up for obese patients who underwent either Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (n = 1,785), sleeve gastrectomy (n = 379), or adjustable gastric banding (n = 246). At this time point, patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass had lost an average of 28% of their baseline weight while patients who underwent sleeve gastrectomy or adjustable gastric banding only lost 18% and 11% of their baseline weights, respectively.

“These results provide further evidence for the beneficial association between surgery and long-term weight loss that has been demonstrated in shorter-term studies of younger, predominantly female populations,” the investigators concluded.

This study was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Maciejewski and four of his associates reported receiving financial compensation from or holding stock in various companies and institutions including the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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