In gastric banding follow-up, mixed results at best

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I've said before that I don't oppose weight-loss surgery, and understand that it is sometimes the best hope for some obese patients' survival. But my solution wasn't surgical, and my experience tells me that surgery isn't the only remedy available.

Because of its prevalence — in part because it is supported by insurance while the methods that helped me no longer are — I'm often interested in studies on these surgeries.

Here's one from Brussels that sought to follow up on 151 patients who had laparoscopic band surgery in the mid-'90s. The numbers don't speak strongly for the experience:

  • Mean loss of excess weight was about 43 percent.
  • Sixty percent had a second surgery, often to remove the band or to switch to a different type of lap banding. Almost a third of those surveyed suffered band erosion. 
  • Sixty percent of those surveyed expressed satisfaction with the surgery.
  • The quality of life index, whatever that is, was judged neutral.

So, to recap: Weight loss resulted, but less than half of what needed to go, on mean. More than half the patients needed more surgery, and 4 in 10 weren't satisfied with the outcome. 

I don't know how this compares to other types of surgery, but I'm unimpressed. How 'bout you — leave a comment with what you think.

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