Weight Loss Surgery Benefits Were Short-Lived

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy patients may gain weight back after surgery

(RxWiki News) Weight loss surgery can produce dramatic results, but it seems that keeping the weight off can be a challenge.

A new study from Israel found that many patients who underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) surgery regained the weight they lost and saw a return of type 2 diabetes.

"The longer follow-up data revealed weight regain and a decrease in remission rates for type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related [diseases]," said lead study author Andrei Keidar, MD, of Beilinson Hospital in Israel, in a press release. "These data should be taken into consideration in the decision-making process for the most appropriate operation for a given obese patient."

Weight loss surgeries are considered a last-ditch effort for severely obese patients who cannot lose weight through other methods.

An LSG surgery involves making small incisions in the abdomen and using a video camera (laparoscope) to perform the procedure.

About 75 percent of the stomach is removed during an LSG, but the intestines are left intact. This limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time, while not disrupting the body's natural absorption of nutrients.

This was the first study to look at the long-term effects of LSGs.

Dr. Keidar and team looked at 443 patients who had undergone an LSG. Patients returned for follow-up after one, three and five years.

At the one-year follow-up, most patients had lost about 77 percent of their excess weight. Fifty-one percent of these patients also no longer had type 2 diabetes.

At the five-year follow-up, however, most patients had regained about 20 percent of that weight lost and only 20 percent no longer had type 2 diabetes.

Most patients maintained their lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels at the five-year follow-up.

Dr. Keidar and team noted that, while LSG was effective in helping patients lose weight initially, about 40 percent of patients did not sustain these improvements in the long run.

This study was published in the August issue of the journal JAMA Surgery.

No funding sources or conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Review Date: 
August 6, 2015