A recent study conducted at the University of Gothenburg has found that the two most common obesity surgeries, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve, have minimal short-term complications and are equally safe. The study aimed to compare the risks associated with each procedure.
In Sweden alone, approximately 5,000 obesity surgeries are performed annually. Individuals who undergo surgery typically have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40, or 35 if they have other serious medical conditions related to obesity.
Gastric bypass involves bypassing a significant portion of the stomach and part of the small intestine, while gastric sleeve entails surgically removing a large part of the stomach. The study included 1,735 adult patients who were scheduled for surgery between 2015 and 2022. Participants were randomly assigned to either gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, and the surgeries were performed in various hospitals across Sweden and Norway.
The results of the study indicated that there were no significant differences in the short-term risks between the two procedures. While gastric bypass surgery took an average of 68 minutes, compared to 47 minutes for gastric sleeve, both groups had the same duration of hospitalization, which was just one day.
The follow-up assessments also revealed equivalent outcomes for both methods. At 30 days after surgery, both groups experienced few complications, such as hemorrhage, leakage, blood clots, and infections. Notably, there were no deaths during the 90-day follow-up period.
According to Suzanne Hedberg, the first author of the study, the risk of complications for both surgical procedures is remarkably low, especially when considering international standards. The study’s findings suggest that patients and doctors can now choose the most suitable surgical method without considering the short-term surgical risks.
Hedberg, who defended her thesis in surgery at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg in April 2023 and works as a consultant at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, emphasizes the significance of the study. With many individuals either having already undergone surgery or being on waiting lists, discussions and opinions regarding the different methods are prevalent. However, the study’s results provide reassurance that short-term surgical risks should not be a primary concern when selecting a surgical approach.
The study, which is part of BEST (Bypass Equipoise Sleeve Trial), a Scandinavian registry-based randomized controlled multicenter study comparing the two methods of obesity surgery, is expected to be completed in 2028. This ongoing trial will analyze the risk of long-term complications and weight progression over a five-year period.
Hedberg concludes that the study has laid a robust foundation for further comparisons of long-term results. The equivalent groups established in these ongoing studies will facilitate additional analysis and provide comprehensive insights into the benefits and risks associated with gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries.
- Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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