Pros And Cons Of Gastric Bypass Surgery

A study in the November, 2008 British Journal of Surgery highlights the pros and cons of gastric bypass surgery.

The intention of the study was to compare two different methods of performing a gastric bypass. And while the difference is pretty technical, it boils down to doctors trying to decide how much of the intestine to bypass.

Overall, 50 patients were studied over a 4 year period. The doctors ultimately decided that bypassing more of the intestine didn’t really make patients lose more weight, but did make surgery take longer and increase the rate of complications.

In general, here are the findings for both groups:

Gastric Bypass Weight Loss

  • Average BMI went from 45.9 to 31.7 in the shorter-bypassed group (a 31% decrease) and from 45.8 to 33.1 in the longer-bypassed group (a 28% decrease). That’s at the end of 4 years, so it’s safe to say that patients in both groups maintained a pretty significant amount of weight loss.

Gastric Bypas Complications

  • Over the four-year follow-up, 29 complications were reported. 12 repeat operations were necessary. Two patients – one in each group – had two operations for both early and late complications.
  • Sixteen early complications were reported in the first 30 days after surgery – eight in each group. Eight of these were wound infections, there were two cases each of internal hernia, narrowing of the anastomotic suture and pulmonary embolism and one case each of staple-line bleeding and intra-abdominal abscess. Three reoperations and two endoscopic dilatations were required.
  • Thirteen late complications were reported 48 months after surgery, including seven internal hernias and three cases where the anastomotic suture had narrowed. There was also one case each of anastomotic ulcer, foreign body (part of a suction drain) and severe malnutrition. Nine reoperations and three endoscopic dilatations were required.

Gastric Bypass Benefits

  • Before they received their gastric bypass, 29 patients had been suffering from high blood pressure. Two years after surgery this had dropped to seven patients.
  • Before surgery, 19 of the patients were diabetic. After, gastric bypass surgery cured diabetes in all but 2.
  • Rates of abnormally high cholesterol dropped from 39 patients before surgery, to 9 afterward.

These findings are in line with an increasing number of studies that highlight both the benefits of gastric bypass surgery, and the potential complications. Deciding whether or not the benefits outweigh the negatives is up to you – and that answer will be different for everyone.

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2 Responses to Pros And Cons Of Gastric Bypass Surgery

  1. Ginna Dorkin

    Gastric bypass surgery has helped countless people around the world in their weight loss journey. This surgery is known to have a fairly high rate or complications, and some of them are life threatening. Find out everything you can about this procedure before you decide. Consult Dr. Nilesh A. Patel at gastric bypass corpus christi

  2. shayne.whitaker

    I have severe sleep apnea and wake up with severe headaches which often make me sick. Can anyone tell me if being sick oven due to headaches can create a problem with hernia,s etc?
    Thanks