Objective: To evaluate the comparative effectiveness of sleeve gastrectomy (SG), laparoscopic gastric bypass (RYGB), and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) procedures.
Background: Citing limitations of published studies, payers have been reluctant to provide routine coverage for SG for the treatment of morbid obesity.
Methods: Using data from an externally audited, statewide clinical registry, we matched 2949 SG patients with equal numbers of RYGB and LAGB patients on 23 baseline characteristics. Outcomes assessed included complications occurring within 30 days, and weight loss, quality of life, and comorbidity remission at 1, 2, and 3 years after bariatric surgery.
Results: Matching resulted in cohorts of SG, RYGB, and LAGB patients that were well balanced on baseline characteristics. Overall complication rates among patients undergoing SG (6.3%) were significantly lower than for RYGB (10.0%, P < 0.0001) but higher than for LAGB (2.4%, P < 0.0001). Serious complication rates were similar for SG (2.4%) and RYGB (2.5%, P = 0.736) but higher than for LAGB (1.0%, P < 0.0001). Excess body weight loss at 1 year was 13% lower for SG (60%) than for RYGB (69%, P < 0.0001), but was 77% higher for SG than for LAGB (34%, P < 0.0001). SG was similarly closer to RYGB than LAGB with regard to remission of obesity-related comorbidities.
Conclusions: With better weight loss than LAGB and lower complication rates than RYGB, SG is a reasonable choice for the treatment of morbid obesity and should be covered by both public and private payers.