At the start of my career in bariatric surgery, I (Dr. Guillermo Alvarez) chose to specialize in gastric sleeve because I knew it to be the safest and most effective weight-loss surgery available. Since then, I have performed over 18,500 gastric sleeve surgeries; it is reassuring to find that the latest research on bariatric surgery continues to confirm that gastric sleeve is the right choice for most patients.
A new study conducted by University of Michigan Health finds that gastric sleeve patients have a lower rate of complications in the years following their procedures than patients who have had gastric bypass.
About This Study
The University of Michigan Health researchers conducted this study to bolster their understanding of the long-term effects of gastric sleeve. Because gastric sleeve is the most popular weight-loss surgery, they sought to confirm that the outcomes were indeed better for patients not just months but years after the surgery.
To determine this, they looked at the medical records of nearly 100,000 Medicare patients who had weight-loss surgery between 2012 and 2018: 57,003 had gastric sleeve surgery and 38,402 had gastric bypass.
Compared to gastric bypass, gastric sleeve showed lower rates of complication, reintervention and mortality. Researchers traced patients’ medical records for up to five years, so these trends held true for at least that length of time.
What I See from This Study
This study is significant because it examines a wider sample size of patients than previous research. It is also reputable because it is published in the prestigious and internationally peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association.
For patients who are trying to decide between gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, this long-term data can be an important factor. Patients and their doctors are always concerned about safety, and this study clearly gives the advantage to gastric sleeve surgery.
The one benefit these researchers find in favor of gastric bypass is that gastric sleeve patients had a slightly higher rate of needing a follow-up surgery to help lose additional weight. For this reason, the researchers acknowledge that some patients with extreme obesity and many comorbidities may decide that gastric bypass is worth the higher risks.
Before scheduling a surgery, I always review the candidacy of each of my patients to verify that gastric sleeve is the safest and most effective procedure for them. The good news is that gastric sleeve is the appropriate choice for most obese patients I meet.
Discuss Gastric Sleeve with an Expert
If you have been considering bariatric surgery and are encouraged to learn about the low rates of complication for gastric sleeve, please contact my office to arrange a consultation. As one of the world’s foremost weight-loss surgeons, I have helped tens of thousands of patients to lead healthier and happier lives with gastric sleeve surgery.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.