Monday, May 02, 2011

bariatric surgery - neither safe nor effective?

In a metastudy in Canada, researchers found that in initial weight loss, the intestinal bypass was the most effective and running close second was the DS/BPD (also a long limb intestinal bypass but with a greatly reduced stomach) and the minigastric bypass which has a greatly reduced stomach and a bypass of about half the small bowel.

Even bariatric surgeons admit that long intestinal bypasses are associated with liver and kidney failure on the long term.

So what is this saying... if you have a procedure which destroys your ability to digest vitamins and cripples one of the most important organ systems in your body, you might lose a lot of weight in the first year? You can do that with cancer also - without surgery even. :(

The last sentence is interesting - the lap banding was the least effective in initial weight loss but, they admitted, delivered the least amount of adverse repercussions. That being said, many lap banders have to have the bands removed after a few years because eventually, the constant rubbing of the band on the soft tissue of the stomach can partially destroy the stomach.

In the one study which was drawn out to 10 years post op, the Swedish Obesity Study, they found that the average BMI for all surgeries, was 35, still very obese. (New England Journal of Medicine: Volume 351:2683-2693 December 23, 2004 Number 26 Lifestyle, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Risk Factors 10 Years after Bariatric Surgery Lars Sjostrom, M.D., Ph.D et al) Which seems to suggest that the more risky surgeries are not any more effective in the long run than the gastric banding which is a lot less risky but none of them are really effective. ("Success with weight loss surgery is 10% the surgery and 90% the patient" Dr Terry Simpson, MD and bariatric surgeon)

Another study found that within 10 years, 34% of those who started with a BMI higher than 50, had regained all or most of the weight. (Annals of Surgery. 244(5):734-740, November 2006. Christou, Nicolas V. MD, PhD; Look, Didier MD; MacLean, Lloyd D. MD, PhD)

Bottom line, there is no shortcut and to keep the weight off everyone has to do the same thing - count calories, make mostly healthy food choices and exercise.

In the Hebrew University study they found that only 7% of gastric bypass patients could keep off all their excess weight (follow up was 6-9 years on 600 patients) and another video from a provider I recently watched, the bariatric surgeon stated that WLS of any kind does not take off all the excess weight and people should not expect to get "slim" from it.

About 5% of people who follow a program, non surgical can keep off all of their excess weight so with risky procedures which all damage the digestive tract, one only gets a 2% greater chance of keeping off all their excess weight unless they diet and exercise or unless the procedure makes a person unable to eat (cancer does that also).

I think maybe more folks should do the math. :(

Here's the abstract on that metastudy:

Obes Rev. 2011 Mar 28. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00866.x. [Epub ahead of print] Bariatric surgery: a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized trials. Padwal R, Klarenbach S, Wiebe N, Birch D, Karmali S, Manns B, Hazel M, Sharma AM, Tonelli M. Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The clinical efficacy and safety of bariatric surgery trials were systematically reviewed. MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL were searched to February 2009. A basic PubCrawler alert was run until March 2010. Trial registries, HTA websites and systematic reviews were searched. Manufacturers were contacted. Randomized trials comparing bariatric surgeries and/or standard care were selected. Evidence-based items potentially indicating risk of bias were assessed. Network meta-analysis was performed using Bayesian techniques. Of 1838 citations, 31 RCTs involving 2619 patients (mean age 30-48 y; mean BMI levels 42-58 kg/m(2) ) met eligibility criteria. As compared with standard care, differences in BMI levels from baseline at year 1 (15 trials; 1103 participants) were as follows: jejunoileal bypass [MD: -11.4 kg/m(2) ], mini-gastric bypass [-11.3 kg/m(2) ], biliopancreatic diversion [-11.2 kg/m(2) ], sleeve gastrectomy [-10.1 kg/m(2) ], Roux-en-Y gastric bypass [-9.0 kg/m(2) ], horizontal gastroplasty [-5.0 kg/m(2) ], vertical banded gastroplasty [-6.4 kg/m(2) ], and adjustable gastric banding [-2.4 kg/m(2) ]. Bariatric surgery appears efficacious compared to standard care in reducing BMI. Weight losses are greatest with diversionary procedures, intermediate with diversionary/restrictive procedures, and lowest with those that are purely restrictive. Compared with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding has lower weight loss efficacy, but also leads to fewer serious adverse effects.

PMID: 21438991 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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