Objective: The purpose of this study was to learn whether preoperative eating habits can be used to predict outcome after vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). BACKGROUND SUMMARY: Several independent randomized and sequential studies have reported significantly greater weight loss after RYGB in comparison with VBG. Although the mechanism responsible for weight loss after both procedures is restriction of intake rather than malabsorption, the relationships between calorie intake, food preferences, and postoperative weight loss are not well defined.
Methods: During the past 5 years, 138 patients were prospectively selected for either VBG or RYGB, based on their preoperative eating habits. All patients were screened by a dietitian who determined total calorie intake and diet composition before recommending VBG or RYGB. Thirty patients were selected for VBG; the remaining 108 patients were classified as "sweets eaters" or "snackers" and had RYGB. Detailed recall diet histories also were performed at each postoperative visit.
Results: Early morbidity rate was zero after VBG versus 3% after RYGB. There were no deaths. Mean follow-up was 39 +/- 11 months after VBG and 38 +/- 14 months after RYGB. Mean weight loss peaked at 74 +/- 23 lb at 12 months after VBG and 99 +/- 24 lb at 16 months after RYGB (p < or = 0.001). Twelve of 30 VBG patients lost > or = 50% of their excess weight versus 100 of 108 RYGB patients (p < or = 0.0001). Milk/ice cream intake was significantly greater postoperatively in patients who underwent VBG versus patients who underwent RYGB after 6 months (p < or = 0.003), whereas solid sweets intake was significantly greater after VBG during the first 18 months postoperatively (p < or = 0.004). Revision of VBG was performed in 6 of 30 patients (20%) for complications or poor weight loss, whereas only 2 of 108 patients who underwent RYGB required surgical revisions (p < or = 0.001).
Conclusions: These data show that VBG adversely alters postoperative eating behavior toward soft, high-calorie foods, resulting in problematic postoperative weight loss. Conversely, RYGB patients had significantly greater weight loss despite inferior preoperative eating habits. The high rate of surgical revision in conjunction with inconsistent postoperative weight loss has led us to no longer recommend VBG as treatment for morbid obesity.