Pros and Cons of Weight Loss Surgery

Posted by Jason Radecke on Wed, Sep 19, 2012

If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight through traditional weight loss methods, you’re not alone. Around 72 million Americans are obese, and about 18 million are suffering from morbid obesity, according to the ASMBS.

Currently, bariatric surgery is the most effective, long lasting treatment for morbid obesity. It can improve health, result in rapid weight loss, and may increase self esteem. The benefits of weight loss surgery can be great, but as with any surgery, there are risks and complications too. You should compare the pros and cons of weight loss surgery as an option for losing weight before you make a decision.

pros-cons-weight-loss-surgeryPros of Weight Loss Surgery

An obvious benefit of bariatric surgery is that overweight patients lose excess body fat. But, an even greater benefit is that obesity related health conditions often improve or are eliminated as a result of this weight loss. Diabetes, severe arthritis, high blood pressure and sleep apnea are all common conditions which often improve after a patient undergoes bariatric surgery. For some, weight loss surgery can even be a lifesaving procedure.

Along with improved physical health, about 95% of patients report an improved quality of life. Studies also suggest people often live longer after having weight loss surgery when compared to similar overweight individuals who never had bariatric surgery.

Weight Loss Surgery Benefits

  • Most effective, long lasting treatment for morbid obesity
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Improves physical functioning, such as walking and breathing
  • Reverses or improves obesity related health problems like diabetes
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Longer life

Cons of Weight Loss Surgery

Of course, weight loss surgery also carries risks. But overall they are quite minimal. In fact, weight loss surgery carries a risk that is equivalent to having your hip replaced. That is less than a 1% chance of a complication. While bariatric surgery has risks, the take home message is that it is safe. Just make sure your surgeons are experienced and do a high volume of these surgeries.

There are multiple bariatric surgery options, and each has its own benefits and risks. Currently, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding is the safest bariatric surgical procedure. As for the pros and cons of gastric banding, it involves a very small incision which results in minimal scarring. Also, since this operation doesn’t require actually cutting the stomach, it’s often the safest option. But, compared to other bariatric procedures, it doesn’t always result in the most weight lost.

Lapband surgery patients lose 47 percent of excess weight on average, while patients who have gastric bypass lose an average of 61 percent of excess weight. However, both gastric bypass benefits and lap band benefits should be researched and compared to your personal goals. Your doctor will be there to help you choose the most suitable surgery for your weight loss.

For many patients, the benefits of surgery outweigh the possible risks. Some would likely die of an obesity-related condition within a few years without the surgery. If you’re committed to losing weight, discuss the benefits  and detriments of weight loss surgery with your doctor. Bariatric surgery could change your life for the better.  If your doctor does not support you exploring your options for bariatric surgery he or she may not be aware of the significant benefits of the surgery. Do not let that deter you. Find a bariatric surgeon and make an appointment on your own.

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Tags: Bariatric Surgery Benefits

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