Gastric Bypass Surgery Provides Long-Lasting Benefits

Gastric bypass surgery has long-lasting results, according to a new study, especially when it comes to teenagers. Results from the new study, presented in November 2015 at the annual American Heart Association meeting, showed that adults who had gastric bypass as teenagers continue to enjoy significant weight loss and better cholesterol levels eight years later.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Provides Benefits For Eight Years

Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that body mass index (BMI) dropped by 32 percent. BMI is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight. The National Institutes of Health notes that the higher a person’s BMI, the greater the risk for certain diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, certain types of cancer and more. Gastric bypass can significantly reduce BMI and therefore decrease the risk for these serious conditions.

The study also shows that gastric bypass can keep cholesterol lower. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of the body. A high level of cholesterol in the bloodstream is a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. High cholesterol is common, affecting more than 102 million people in the United States. Many of these Americans have high total cholesterol, while others have high triglycerides, which are a type of cholesterol.

At the beginning of the study, 85.7 percent of the participants had dyslipidemia. Eight years later, only 38.3 percent of study participants had elevated cholesterol, high triglycerides or both. This means gastric bypass helps patients reduce cholesterol levels and their risk for heart disease.

The scientists enrolled 50 surgical patients with an average age of 17 into the study. The study also examined the outcomes for a group of 30 “control” subjects who did not have bypass surgery but who may have participated in a medically supervised weight loss program. Of the 30, only eight continued to participate in the program after one year. Among all 30 non-surgical patients, body mass index increased by 6.2 percent after eight years, and lipids were unchanged.

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The participants in the control group experienced weight gain and no improvement in co-morbidities, such as high cholesterol and heart disease. In this group, BMI increased by 6.2 percent after eight years while cholesterol and triglyceride levels remained the same.

The findings underscore the worrisome long-term health outcomes for severely obese pediatric patients. The study results also suggest that gastric bypass surgery can improve the long-term outcomes for teens with pediatric obesity in a meaningful and durable way.

Likely the longest follow-up study after gastric bypass surgery every conducted, this study shows that gastric bypass surgery can provide lasting weight loss benefits years after the procedure.