Long-term follow-up (>10 years) after vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) is almost nonexistent. The aim of this study was to determine long-term outcome after VBG in a group of 71 patients studied prospectively. Seventy-one consecutive patients with morbid obesity (54 women and 17 men; mean age 40 years [range 22 to 71 years]) underwent VBG from 1985 to 1989 and were followed prospectively. Follow-up was obtained in 70 (99%) of the 71 patients. Weight (mean +/- standard error of the mean) preoperatively was 138 +/- 3 kg and decreased to 108 +/- 2 kg 10 or more years postoperatively. Body mass index decreased from 49 +/-1 to 39 +/- 1. Only 14 (20%) of 70 patients lost and maintained the loss of at least half of their excess body weight with the VBG anatomy. Vomiting one or more times per week continues to occur in 21% and heartburn in 16%. Fourteen patients have undergone conversion from VBG to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (11 patients) or other procedures (3 patients) because of a combination of inadequate weight loss in 13 patients, gastroesophageal reflux in five, and frequent vomiting in four. Only 26% of patients after VBG have maintained a weight loss of at least 50% of their excess body weight; 17% underwent bariatric reoperation with good results. Thus VBG is not an effective, durable bariatric operation.