Health Team

Weight-loss surgery doesn't improve short-term survival rates

Posted June 13, 2011
Updated December 29, 2011

— Bariatric surgery can help severely obese patients lose weight and improve diseases like diabetes and high blood pressue, but a new study by Durham researchers shows that it doesn't boost short-term survival rates.

Researchers at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham studied 850 veterans over a six-year period after they underwent bariatric surgery at 12 VA centers nationwide. The veterans were older men who were heavier and at higher risk for weight-related diseases than the average surgical patient.

Although the surgery helped the men lose weight and discontinue some medications, Matthew Maciejewski of the Durham VA Medical Center said the study showed their survival rate wasn't different than veterans who didn't have bariatric surgery.

"There may not be survival benefit, at least in the short to medium term, and this is important for patients and their providers to consider when they're weighing decisions about whether or not to have bariatric surgery," said Dr. Leila Kahwati of the Durham VA Medical Center.

The study has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Previous studies show survival rates for older men didn't change until 10 years or more after surgery, and studies are ongoing to understand what happens to the patients over longer periods.

"It's really important for us to be able to understand the longer-term survival of these patients to see if a difference does emerge over time," Maciejewski said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • collinclassy Jun 15, 2011


    A European filmmaker has been reversing weight problems in NON diabetics with a Diabetes diet.

    It has been giving people who have a hard time losing weight a normal body weight fast

    It is now used in 10 countries. ALL weight issues are caused by Food chemicals( PROCESSED FOODS) and he shows how to reverse it

    if you are Diabetic or not SEE HERE

    or just google SPIRITHAPPY.ORG

  • donnaferguson Jun 14, 2011

    esprg......I had RNY too and then total gastrectomy (total stomach removal) last November. Talk about rerouted LOL Good luck on your continued journey.

  • esprg Jun 14, 2011

    I forgot to add I did not have a band but actually had the r-n-y done so I'm totally rerouted! lol

  • esprg Jun 14, 2011

    Kudos @donnaferguson...I myself 6 yrs out having lost 200lbs... agree w/you whole-heartedly!

  • LuvMyLife Jun 14, 2011

    Trying to figure this one out? The weight loss and being off of certain medications I would think would help a person but how can they determine what the survival rate should be? Does anyone know when they are going to die? I'm looking into lap band surgery this fall and am halfway through my pre-surgery check list.

  • donnaferguson Jun 14, 2011

    As a bariatric surgery patient (female) I feel that this article should be differently titled. It was a survey of older, obese men. Typically, this surgery is not done on people over 60 yrs of age. Having lost 260 lbs and keeping it off for 8 yrs now, I don't want anyone to think that this cannot be a viable option in their weight loss journey.