The Deadly Risks of Gastric Bypass
October 20, 2004
Researchers are debating whether or not bariatric surgeries dealing
with obesity present more benefits or more risks to patients.
Gastric bypass surgery, which involves creating a smaller stomach
by stapling off a section and rearranging the small intestine, is
one they have been specifically focused on. While some researchers
claimed the surgery saves lives of extremely obese people, an opposing
study found that one in every 50 gastric bypass surgeries result
in death within a month after the operation.
Critics say the risks far outweigh the benefits, in that the surgery
not only poses a risk of death, but also sets people up for medical
problems such as malnutrition.
Those in favor of the surgery disagree, and believe that patients
who make it through the operation will benefit from improvements
in common obesity-related health issues such as diabetes, heart
disease and lung function. They even claim those who undergo the
operation seem to live longer.
In a study involving 66,109 obese patients, two groups were formed.
The first group consisted of 3,328 patients who received gastric
bypass surgery, while the second group included the remainder of
the patients, or those hospitalized for some other medical reason.
In the time span of 30 days, one in 50 surgery patients died
Approximately 3 percent of patients who had gastric bypass
surgery were younger than 40 and died after 13.6 years, compared
to the 13.8 percent who did not have the surgery
After 15 years, 11.8 percent of patients of all ages who had
gastric bypass surgery died, compared to the 16.3 percent who
did not have the surgery
Another study concerning bariatric surgery involved 1,035 morbidly
obese patients who had gastric bypass surgery and 5,746 patients
of the same weight who did not have the surgery.
The results from the study showed:
Sixty-seven percent of the gastric bypass patients lost their
In a five-year follow up, six patients died (four from the
operation), compared to the 350 patients who died and did not
have the surgery
Patients having bariatric surgeries had an 89 percent reduced
risk of death
It is important to note: The success rate of gastric bypass surgery
reflects the experience of the surgeon, in that patients are at
five times the risk of death during surgery if a surgeon is less
Today October 6, 2004