The current study included 4,776 people who underwent one of the following types of bariatric surgery: lap-band surgery (1,198 patients), laparoscopic gastric bypass (2,975 patients), open gastric bypass (437 patients) or another procedure (166 patients). All of the surgeries were done by surgeons specifically qualified for this study. All of the surgeries took place between March 2005 and December 2007.
The average age of the study participant was 44.5 years old, 22 percent of the study volunteers were male and 11 percent were nonwhite. The average BMI in the study was 46.5. More than half of the study group had at least two coexisting medical conditions, the study authors noted.
In his editorial, Robinson points out that these procedures may represent "best-case scenarios" because they were done by experienced surgeons in high-volume bariatric centers. However, he said that because the field of bariatric surgery has advanced so much in the past few years, he believes these results are a "generally achievable phenomenon."
Both Robinson and Wolfe recommend that any person considering bariatric surgery should choose a facility that's been designated as a "Center of Excellence" because that means that the surgeon and the whole health-care team are qualified and experienced.
Learn more about bariatric surgery from the U.S. government's Weight-control Information Network.
SOURCES: Bruce Wolfe, M.D., professor, surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Ore.; Malcolm K. Robinson, M.D., assistant professor, surgery, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, B
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