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Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

OutcomesAverage Weight Loss by Procedure

  • Average three-year weight loss 62 percent of excess weight.1

  • More than 90 percent of patients experience improvement in related medical conditions, including2,3:

    • Asthma

    • High blood pressure

    • Type 2 Diabetes

    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

    • Sleep apnea

Safety

  • Short-term mortality rates less than 0.5 percent 4

  • Rate of serious complications less than 5 percent 5

Minimally Invasive

  • Laparoscopic surgery offers faster recovery with less pain and scarring.

Weighing the Benefits and Risks 

Weight loss surgery is major surgery and is not recommended for people with only a few pounds to lose. However, for people who meet the criteria and who have tried other weight-loss methods, it can be the key to allieviating obesity-related health conditions and the beginning of a healthier lifestyle. Bariatric surgery is used to treat morbid obesity more frequently due to:

  • Our current knowledge of the significant health risks of morbid obesity
  • The relatively low risk and complications of the procedures versus the risks of not having the surgery
  • The ineffectiveness of current non-surgical approaches to produce sustained weight loss

Still, it is important to consider both the benefits and risks, and to understand the life-long commitment this type of option requires.

Risks of Bariatric Surgery

  • The amount of weight lost through surgery varies
  • There is no guarantee the surgery will be successful
  • If diet guidelines are not followed, the weight could return
  • Some procedures are not reversible
  • Extreme weight loss can result in cosmetic issues such as excess hanging skin
  • Possible complications include ulcers, malnutrition, re-hospitalization, and even death

There are also many health risks associated with excess weight, and the risks of surgery must be weighed against these risks.

A Lifelong Commitment

Surgery is only a tool to accelerate weight loss. Patients who follow physician-recommended dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes will have the best chance for life-long success. People who undergo bariatric surgery should expect to visit a doctor for regular checkups several times a year for the rest of their lives. Patients are required to show proof that their attempts at dietary weight loss have been ineffective before surgery will be approved. Our surgeons also require patients to demonstrate serious motivation and a clear understanding of the extensive dietary, exercise and medical guidelines that must be followed for the remainder of their lives after having weight loss surgery.

 

Sources:

1 Lee, CM, et al, Surg Endocscop 2007; Mar 14

2 Wittgrove A.C., Clark G.W. Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Roux-en-Y - 500 patients: technique and results with 3-60 month follow-up. Obes Surg 2000 Jun; 10(3): 233-9.

3 Dixon, JB et al, various Lap-Band studies.

4 Morino, M., Toppino, M. Forestieri, P., et al, Mortality After Bariatric Surgery, Annals of Surgery, vol. 246. Dec. 2007, Vol. 246 No. 6.

5 Wittgrove A.C., Clark G.W. Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Roux-en-Y - 500 patients: technique and results with 3-60 month follow-up. Obes Surg 2000 Jun; 10(3): 233-9.

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