Evidence that gastric surgery is not a long term fix

In the long term, gastric surgery may not be as good for weight loss as previously thought, with the positive effects of the surgery seemingly wearing off after just a few years.

Obesity and related metabolic health conditions are one of the major health problems faced by the western world, and one of the more drastic, yet seemingly effective, methods of dealing with this in both a therapeutic and preventative way, is gastric surgery. Whether a gastric sleeve, a gastric band, or a gastric bypass, these kinds of surgery very evidently help people lose weight by altering the stomach.

As a consequence, the surgery can help prevent disease like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and keep the levels of bad cholesterol low.

However, a recent study has found that these beneficial effects may not be as final as we think, and that patients may end up gaining weight again.

Published by JAMA Surgery, the study looked at data on patients from a single hospital who had had some form of gastric surgery between 2006 and 2013, including their weight follow ups, blood tests, medication and their demographic details.

Charting and analysing this data, Dr. Andrei Keidar of Beilinson Hospital in Israel found that remissions caused by the surgery did not last.

At one year after the surgery, excess weight loss was seen in 77% of the patients. Complete remission of diabetes was maintained in 51% of patients, and hyopertension remission was maintained in 46%.

By the time five years had passed, excess weight loss was seen in just 56% of patients and complete diabetes remission in 20%, while hypertension remission was still at 46%.

What this seems to show is that major invasive, body altering surgery, despite being such an intense form of treatment, isn’t a complete solution. There can still be backslides in health.

Lifestyle is a big part of metabolic health. Trying to look after the body is admirable, but without a balance between mental and physical health, it will be a lot harder to live a healthy lifestyle. A lot of people fail while dieting due to negativity, boredom, or burnout.

Stress management techniques like mindfulness can help to prevent burnout, and help people to deal with the pressures of life that push us to living unhealthily in the first place.

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