Benefits of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy diminish with time
Five years after weight loss surgery, patients can regain the weight that they had initially lost, according to a recent Israeli study. It has long been known that surgery remains an effective treatment for weight loss, however long-term follow-up data remains sparse. Whilst also seeing a gain in weight, a recurrence of diabetes was also noted. The study followed 443 who underwent sleeve gastrectomy. After the first year patients had lost 77% of their original weight, after 5 years the weight loss was only 56%. With regards to the diabetes, 51% saw it disappear in the first year, however by the fifth year only 20% of patients were diabetes-free.
The intention of a sleeve gastrectomy is to reduce the size of the stomach similar to that of a banana. Dr Andrei Keidar, one of the researchers, explains that several reasons could contribute to the fact that weight is regained. “The main reason is that the stomach dilates, meaning you can eat more. The appetite also comes back so patients want to eat more.” Furthermore, he described how the effectiveness of weight loss surgery has a behavioural aspect and “if you don’t change your behaviour, you are going to regain weight”. A large limitation of the study was that many patients dropped out at each stage but the follow-up rates in this study correlate with similar studies of its kind.
The benefits of this weight loss surgery are still relevant as meaningful health changes are seen with just 5% weight loss, so having lost 50% after five years is still going to vastly improve one’s health. More worrying however is the re-occurrence in diabetes.