Gastric bypass is the most popular weight loss surgery around. It’s proven to be safe and effective in the vast majority of people who opt for it. However, there’s another weight loss surgery on the scene referred to as duodenal switch that is getting some attention, but not all for good reasons.
According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine the lesser-known surgery offers superior weight loss, but it also is a higher long-term health risk.
Following 60 severely obese patients, researchers had the subjects of the study randomly assigned to have gastric bypass surgery or the more involved procedure known as duodenal switch.
Two years after both groups of surgery were performed, they all saw significant weight loss. However, the duodenal group lost an amazing 50 pounds more on average. While that would sound great at first, it also came with twice the rate of complications. There were 29 people who had the duodenal switch performed. Of those, 62 percent had problems, such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and intestinal obstruction. There were also cases of long-term malnutrition which wasn’t present with the gastric bypass group.
According to a 2008 study, duodenal switch only accounted for one percent of all weight loss surgeries. That’s mainly due to the fact that most surgeons reserve it for the extremely obese. However, Dr. Torgeir T. Sovik of Oslo University in Norway says that some surgeons will perform it on less obese patients.
“As duodenal switch can be associated with more adverse events, this procedure should only be performed in carefully selected patients by a dedicated bariatric team,” said Dr. Sovik in an email to Rueters. “And a closer follow-up after surgery is required after such procedures.”
Dr. Edward H. Livingston, a professor and surgeon at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, had harsher words for duodenal switch:
“This is an operation that should probably go away.”
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