Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery has been shown to increase life expectancy and provide individuals with a happier, healthier, and more active life.
Bariatric surgery, commonly referred to as weight loss surgery or obesity surgery, is one of the fastest growing medical fields in the United States. The surging popularity of bariatric surgery can be attributed to the many benefits it provides to the individuals who are struggling with obesity and associated health conditions. Bariatric surgery has been shown to help obese people lose their excess weight and significantly improve their overall health and quality of life.
In 2008, an estimated 220,000 people in the United States had bariatric surgery according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). This is a significant increase from the 20,000 weight loss operations that were performed in 1995. Bariatric surgery has increased in safety due to advances in medical techniques and long-term outcomes have proven to be beneficial, yet less than 1% of the obese individuals who meet the patient criteria for weight loss surgery actually have surgery.
The most common bariatric procedures are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, adjustable gastric banding (LAP-BAND or REALIZE Band), sleeve gastrectomy, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch surgery. Most of these bariatric procedures are performed laparoscopically using minimally invasive techniques, which is less painful and patients heal quicker than with open surgery.
Why Weight Loss Surgery?
Obesity is a chronic health condition that is very difficult to treat. Many obese individuals have made serious attempts to lose weight through diet, exercise, and medically supervised weight loss programs, but have failed. In these cases, bariatric surgery is performed as a last resort treatment option. Choosing to undergo a weight loss procedure is not the easy way to weight loss, but for most it is literally a life-saving step.
Weight Loss Results
Bariatric surgery has been shown to promote excellent long-term weight loss results. According to the National Institute of Health, bariatric surgery is considered the only permanent treatment for individuals who are morbidly obese (100 pounds or more overweight).
- With diet and exercise, average long-term weight loss is only 10 percent
- With gastric bypass surgery, average 60% weight loss after 5 years
- With LAP-BAND surgery, average 55% weight loss after 5 years
- With duodenal switch surgery, average weight loss is 60-80% of excess weight
Although weight loss surgery is performed to promote weight loss, mounting evidence suggests that it may also be one of the most effective treatments for metabolic diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and obstructive sleep apnea. Weight loss surgery does more than treat morbid obesity, it treats many other serious health conditions as well.
Resolution of Health Conditions
Weight loss surgery provides many health benefits in addition to weight loss, including:
- Diabetes: improved in 86% of patients, remission in 77% of patients
- Hypertension (high blood pressure): improved in 78% of patients, cured in 62% of patients
- Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and high triglycerides): improved in more than 70% of patients
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: cured in 86% of patients
- Premature Death: 5-year mortality decreased by 89%
- Arthritis: significantly less pain and increased mobility
- Asthma: improved or resolved in 82% of patients
- Infertility: improved or resolved
- Skin infections and skin rashes: improved or resolved
- Ankle swelling: improved or resolved
- Lymphedema: improved or resolved
- Heart failure (obesity-related): improved or resolved
- Cardiovascular Disease: risk reduced by 82%
- Migraines: resolved in 57% of patients
- Depression: resolved in 55% of patients
- GERD: resolved in over 72% of patients
- Gout: resolved in 77% of patients
- Stress Urinary Incontinence: resolved in 44 - 88% of patients
- Metabolic Syndrome: resolved in 80% of patients
- Venous Stasis Disease: resolved in 95% of patients
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: improved or resolved
Quality of Life
Obesity not only reduces a person's life span by 13-20 years, but it affects the quality of life as well. Weight loss surgery has been shown to increase life expectancy and provide individuals with a happier, healthier, and more active life. The overall quality of life improves in 95% of obese individuals after weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery can improve your ability to participate in physical and recreational activities, improve your social and economic opportunities, and improve your overall sense of well being. Financially, weight loss surgery ends up saving money in medical costs and lost wages due to obesity related illness.