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Results of a recent study suggest that benefits of laparoscopic gastric banding surgery compared with medical treatment for obese patients were maintained for up to 17 years.

Dr. Antonio E. Pontiroli and his associates reported the results of this study in 1490 patients at the annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association. The doctors reported that 527 obese patients (with or without diabetes) who underwent laparoscopic banding were significantly less likely to die and were less likely to develop new cases of type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease, compared with the 963 patients not treated with laparoscopic gastric banding.

The patients were seen for a first visit between 1995-2001, and they were followed for 11-17 years. Overall 3% of the surgery group compared to 10% of the non surgery patients died during the follow-up period. Among patients without diabetes at the start of the study, 5% treated with surgery and 10% in the non surgery group developed diabetes.

This long-term study of patients who’d had gastric banding appears very reassuring in that patients treated with banding were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, or compared to those managed medically.

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There clearly are some limitations to the study. The researchers only looked at banding; they didn’t look at sleeve gastrectomies or gastric bypass. The study is specifically related to banding and the comparisons with medical therapies didn’t really define them. None the less, this long term follow clearly suggests that gastric banding is beneficial in preventing know complications of obesity.

Reference: Pontiroli A, Zakaria A, Mantegazza E,e t al. Long-term Prevention of Death and of Development of New Diseases (cardiovascular Diseases and Type 2 Diabetes) by Bariatric Surgery: A 17-Year Follow-up Study. Diabetes June 2014 63:Supplement 1 A1-A102; doi:10.2337/db14-1-388 1939-327X