A study of different types of obesity surgery has found that a newer operation, called the duodenal switch, results in better weight loss than the standard gastric bypass procedure.
Researchers from the University of Chicago found that patients undergoing the duodenal switch were more likely to both achieve and maintain weight loss at both one year and three year checks after their surgery.
The duodenal switch operation involves reducing the size of the stomach and making alterations to the intestines, thereby limiting the absorption of calories.
Dr Vivek Prachand, assistant professor of surgery at the university, commented: "While there is no single ideal bariatric procedure that can be applied to all severely obese patients, we have generally recommended the duodenal switch for those with a BMI greater than 50."
The researcher added that, although both procedures appear to be reasonably safe, "the duodenal switch appears to offer a considerable advantage in terms of the amount and possibly the duration of weight loss".
Obesity is a growing problem in the UK, with a recent report highlighting the effects of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle combined with a penchant for junk food.
The government report warned that a third of men will be obese by 2010 unless serious lifestyle issues are addressed and launched a campaign to improve the nation's health.
Obesity surgery is available on the NHS for patients with a body mass index (BMI) in excess of 35, although a number of NHS trusts have increased the limit to 45 as a result of the large number of patients seeking the treatment.
Because of this, many severely overweight patients seek private treatment in a bid to assist weight loss, with many finding it impossible to lose significant amounts by diet and exercise alone.