Bariatric Surgery Helps Mortality by a Small Amount

Posted: January 10, 2012 in Obesity Medicine by

In a recent editorial in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association), the author found that after reviewing 20 years of outcome studies of patients that underwent bariatric surgery, including either rou-en-y gastric bypass (the current most common surgery), lap band placement, or vertical banded gastroplasty (which is not commonly performed) that mortality is lessened.

Unfortunately, mortality is not lessened by very much. The statistics initially look really good with a significant “relative reduction” but are muddied by using relative reduction numbers. When looking at absolute reduction, the benefits are a minor 1.3-1.4% with a mean follow up of 10.9 years. In another study, unfortunately, there was no significant survival benefit associated with rou-en-y gastric bypass. The conclusion therefore reached was that an important benefit from obesity surgery, living longer, is at best only minimally improved.

JAMA. 2012;307(1):88-89