Weight loss is among one of the many benefits of bariatric surgery. Not only will this surgery provide significant weight loss, it also improves and can lead to remission of some obesity-related health conditions.
Many individuals who have struggled with obesity fail to find sufficient results through traditional weight loss methods like lifestyle change, exercise, and dieting.
Unfortunately, many individuals struggling with obesity find it extremely difficult to lose weight and continue maintaining weight loss in the long-term.
Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve quality of life and provide health benefits. We’ll go over these benefits below.
What are the Benefits of Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Around 90% of bariatric patients lose half of their excess body weight and successfully keep it off in the long run.
The amount of weight loss depends on the type of surgery performed. Long-term weight management also depends on the commitment to lifestyle change, including healthy diet and exercise.
Anatomical changes from bariatric surgery can also influence gut hormones, which can contribute to weight loss.
Improvement of Obesity-Related Health Conditions
Around 90% of individuals with Type II Diabetes acquired this condition from excessive body fat associated with obesity.
Bariatric surgery aims to improve diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels, reducing medication dosing, and improving diabetic related health outcomes.
Gastric bypass surgery typically decreases the need for insulin and diabetic oral medication. Do not stop medications without the consent of your healthcare team.
Surgery can assist in preventing the long-term complications of uncontrolled type 2 diabetes mellitus.
These complications can include:
- Visual impairment
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Sores and limb amputations
- Nerve damage
If there is a long duration of uncontrolled diabetes, there is a decreased chance of resolution following bariatric surgery. If indicated, it is essential to perform surgery early on in the course of the disease.
The improvement of cardiac risk factors is directly correlated to the amount of weight loss. Bariatric surgery has been shown to decrease the risk of cardiac conditions by 50%.
Patients who take medication for high blood pressure may experience a normalization in their blood pressure after surgery.
Statistical data states that 2 years out from weight loss surgery, 20-40% of bariatric patients experience complete resolution of high blood pressure.
Cholesterol and lipid (fat) levels may also return to near-normal or normal levels after weight loss surgery.
Fatty Liver Disease
Chronic liver disease is commonly caused by Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) in the obese population. NAFLD has two sub-types: Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver (NAFL) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). Significant weight loss and diet change are the effective treatments for NASH.
Studies show that bariatric surgery is an efficient way to treat NASH in patients who are unable to lose weight by lifestyle modification and diet.
Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
Weight loss surgery can relieve the significant stress that excess weight places on the joints, especially the hips, knees, and ankles.
Patients who have had bariatric surgery experience decreased joint pain and increased mobility. The risk of developing Osteoarthritis in the future is decreased, as well as the incidence of lower back pain.
If you qualify for bariatric surgery, there’s nearly 80% chance you have some form of sleep apnea.
Bariatric surgery has been deemed one of the most effective treatments of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Weight loss surgery has resulted in 80% to 85% remission rate for those who use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
Significant weight loss reduces the fatty tissue around the upper airway allowing for reduced symptoms and easier sleep.
Research has proven that higher levels of body fat can be associated with an increased risk of various cancers.
This would include endometrial, liver, kidney, pancreatic, gallbladder, thyroid and breast cancer. About 6% of cancer cases in 2007 were associated with obesity.
Bariatric surgery decreases the risk of developing obesity-related cancers when compared to obese individuals who have not had weight loss surgery.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Infertility
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that can affect overall health and fertility.
There is a higher risk of PCOS if you are suffering from obesity and/or a family history of the syndrome.
Weight-loss surgery has been shown to improve fertility in women who struggle with PCOS.
Improved Quality of Life
Individuals see a great improvement in quality of life around 1 year after bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery can improve life expectancy in individuals with severe obesity struggling with obesity-related health conditions.
There is improvement in mental health and the rate of depression tends to decrease significantly after surgery.
Patients report an improvement in energy levels and less body pain.
Obesity can shorten life expectancy by about 4-7 years. Bariatric surgery dramatically decreases the risk of mortality in the long term. In fact, not having surgery to treat severe obesity can be more dangerous than surgery itself.
Around 15% of deaths were associated with excess weight in the year 2000.
Advances in medical technology and laparoscopic (“key-hole”) procedures have made Bariatric surgery a lot safer than in the past.
What is the Chance of Dying From Gastric Bypass Surgery?
As we stated before, the risk of dying from Gastric Bypass Surgery is less than the risk of dying from obesity-related medical conditions.
There has been less than a 1% chance of death within a month after any bariatric surgery procedure.
The causes of death can be related to initial comorbidities and possible post-operative complications that go unnoticed.
After surgery, complications in the hospital are rare. However, there are risks for blood clots, lung infections, strokes, or heart attacks that may result in death.
Am I a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
Each healthcare institution will have their own policies and criteria to determine whether bariatric surgery is appropriate for you.
The following criteria are typically usually used:
- Age 16-70 (with exceptions)
- A Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 40
- A BMI between 35-39.9 with associated obesity-related health conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- You are greater than 100 pounds over your ideal body mass
- Inability to sustain a healthy weight after pursuing lifestyle change and following a diet prescribed by a Registered Dietitian or qualified Medical Practitioner
- Bariatric surgery may be performed in children and adolescents with severe obesity
Bariatric Surgery Procedure Types
The most common Bariatric surgery procedures are Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy, Adjustable Gastric Band, and Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch.
For those battling obesity, bariatric surgery is a proven medical solution for achieving long-term weight loss. While bariatric surgery has become an increasingly common and safe operation, it is still considered major surgery with possible short and long-term side effects.
Your doctor will discuss and explore options with you before making this life changing decision. There will be discussion on pre-operative screening, hospital check lists, and recommendations on the vitamins and minerals you will need for life after weight loss surgery.
There are Bariatric non-surgical treatment options offered for patients who do not meet the criteria for bariatric surgery or who choose to not undergo surgery. These medical management programs usually involve a Doctor, Dietitian, and Psychologist.
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**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.