The benefits of gastric bypass surgery appear to be long-term and go beyond weight loss.
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A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that obese people who had the surgery not only dropped and kept off a significant amount of weight, but also experienced frequent remission and lower incidence of diabetes, hypertension, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Stacy Brethauer, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, says the findings are significant.
“Bariatric surgery is definitely the most effective therapy we have right now for the disease of obesity,” Dr. Brethauer says.
Researchers at the University of Utah studied the results of gastric bypass surgery on more than 1,100 people. After six years, 96 percent maintained a loss of more than 10 percent of their initial body weight. More than 75 percent maintained a loss of at least 20 percent of their initial weight.
Researchers also saw additional health benefits that included lower incidences of diabetes and high blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels.
Dr. Brethauer says that in the past decade, bariatric surgery has made major advances in safety and become a viable option for many people.
“The emphasis has really shifted from just a weight-loss operation to metabolic surgery where we’re really altering the courses of these chronic, unremitting diseases,” Brethauer says. “And it’s pretty remarkable when you look at the remission rates that we see with diabetes and hypertension.”