Background: Gastric bypass and adjustable gastric banding are the 2 most commonly performed bariatric procedures for the treatment of morbid obesity. The aim of this study was to compare the outcomes, quality of life, and costs of laparoscopic gastric bypass versus laparoscopic gastric banding.
Study design: Between 2002 and 2007, 250 patients with a body mass index of 35 to 60 kg/m2 were randomly assigned to gastric bypass or gastric banding. After exclusion, 111 patients underwent gastric bypass and 86 patients underwent gastric banding. Outcome measures included demographic data, operative time, blood loss, length of hospital stay, morbidity, mortality, early and late reoperation rate, weight loss, changes in quality of life, and cost. Treatment failure was defined as losing less than 20% of excess weight or conversion to another bariatric operation for failure of weight loss.
Results: There were no deaths at 90 days in either group. The mean body mass index was higher in the gastric bypass group (47.5 vs. 45.5 kg/m2, respectively, P < 0.01) while the mean age was higher in the gastric band group (45 vs. 41 years, respectively, P < 0.01). Compared with gastric banding, operative blood loss was higher and the mean operative time and length of stay were longer in the gastric bypass group. The 30-day complication rate was higher after gastric bypass (21.6% vs. 7.0% for gastric band); however, there were no life-threatening complications such as leaks or sepsis. The most frequent late complication in the gastric bypass group was stricture (14.3%). The 1-year mortality was 0.9% for the gastric bypass group and 0% for the gastric band group. The percent of excess weight loss at 4 years was higher in the gastric bypass group (68 ± 19% vs. 45 ± 28%, respectively, P < 0.05). Treatment failure occurred in 16.7% of the patients who underwent gastric banding and in 0% of those who underwent gastric bypass, with male gender being a predictive factor for poor weight loss after gastric banding. At 1-year postsurgery, quality of life improved in both groups to that of US norms. The total cost was higher for gastric bypass as compared with gastric banding procedure ($12,310 vs. $10,766, respectively, P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Laparoscopic gastric bypass and gastric banding are both safe and effective approaches for the treatment of morbid obesity. Gastric bypass resulted in better weight loss at medium- and long-term follow-up but was associated with more perioperative and late complications and a higher 30-day readmission rate. There was a wide variation in weight loss after gastric banding with a small proportion of patients considered as treatment failure, and male gender was a predictive factor for poor weight loss.