Background: Gastric banding still represents one of the most widely used bariatric procedures. It provides acceptable weight loss in many patients, but has frequent long-term complications. Because different types of bands may lead to different results, we designed a randomized study to compare the Lapband® with the SAGB®. We hereby report on the long-term results.
Methods: Between December 1998 and June 2002, 180 morbidly obese patients were randomized between Lapband® or SAGB®. Weight loss, long-term morbidity, and need for reoperation were evaluated.
Results: Long-term weight loss did not differ between the two bands. Patients who maintained their band had an acceptable long-term weight loss of between 50 and 60 % EBMIL. In both groups, about half the patients developed long-term complications, with about 50 % requiring major redo surgery. There was no difference in the overall rates of long-term complications or failures between the two groups, but patients who had a Lapband® were significantly more prone to develop band slippage/pouch dilatation (13.3 versus 0 %, p < 0,001).
Conclusions: Although in the absence of complication, gastric banding leads to acceptable weight loss; the long-term complication and major reoperation rates are very high independently from the type of band used or on the operative technique. Gastric banding leads to relatively poor overall long-term results and therefore should not be considered the procedure of choice for the treatment of morbid obesity. Patients should be informed of the limited overall weight loss and the very high complication rates.