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Weight loss surgery-or bariatric surgery

is an effective way to lose weight and reduce your risk of obesity-related medical conditions.

It can be a big step toward a new life, but it’s just one of many steps on your journey to a fuller, healthier and more satisfying lifestyle. Losing weight through surgery requires a serious, lifelong commitment to changing the way you eat, exercise, and think. It requires a whole new way of approaching life every day.

Studies indicate that bariatric surgery is more effective than medical management for achieving weight loss. Behavior modification programs and weight-loss medications usually result in patients initially losing 8% to 10% of their original weight, but they often regain weight after they stop treatment. In contrast, bariatric surgery usually results in patients losing 20% to 30% of their total weight, depending on the procedure used, within the first two years.

And the results hold up over time. The Swedish Obese Subjects study, which followed the outcomes of more than 2,000 people for up to 15 years after bariatric surgery, found that they had regained some weight, but remained 13% to 27% under their presurgical body weight, depending on the procedure used, while obese controls who received conventional weight-loss treatment remained within 2% of their original body weight.

Benefits

Bariatric surgery can result in important health benefits. Diabetes resolves or improves in 86% of patients; high cholesterol improves in 70% or more; hypertension resolves in 62%. Probably because of these effects, a study that examined the long-term outcomes of almost 10,000 patients who had undergone gastric bypass surgery found that overall mortality was reduced in comparison with a matched control group of severely obese people who had not undergone surgery.

Risks 

The reality about bariatric surgery is that your life will never be the same again. You will be limited to eating small portions because of the small size of your stomach after the surgery. You also may have diarrhea and difficulty absorbing important nutrients. Aside from the small but still concerning risk of death, the risks of surgery include potentially serious infections in the abdomen, difficulty with wound healing, and hernias.

Bariatric Surgery

Good Candidates 

  • Are morbidly or significantly obese (body mass index, or BMI, greater than 40)
  • Are moderately obese, with a BMI between 35 and 40, with more a medical condition related to obesity or poor functional status
  • Are between ages 16 and 65
  • Have an acceptable operative risk
  • Are psychologically stable with realistic expectations
  • Are committed to prolonged lifestyle changes
  • Have a supportive family and social environment
  • Have no active alcohol or substance abuse problem
  • Do not have active schizophrenia or untreated severe depression
  • Have documented failure at losing weight long-term through nonsurgical methods — this usually means evidence that you have enrolled in a program to incorporate diet and exercise
  • Are well informed and motivated
  • Are able to participate in the treatment, follow-up and diet
Best Doctors:
Dr. Hamed Ghodsi

Dr. Hamed Ghodsi

Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Hamed Ghodsi, a skilled and experienced board-certified Bariatric Surgeon, was born in 1969. He received his medical degree from Iran University of Medical Sciences, one of the…

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