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How Effective Is Weight Loss Surgery in 2024? From Hope to Reality

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Traditional weight loss methods require patience and discipline which is a major obstacle for people dealing with obesity. That’s where people think about getting weight loss surgery.

Over the years, it’s grown tremendously, becoming a favourite among many. But how effective is weight loss surgery? And why is understanding its efficacy so important?

Simply put, knowing its impact keeps your expectations on point with reality. That way you can make an informed decision. Taking a closer look, we’ll take an overall look at bariatric surgery, its benefits, and risks.

 

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure that helps you lose weight by changing how your body handles food. It’s not just a quick fix, but a long-term solution for those struggling with obesity.

This surgery isn’t a magic cure, but it’s one of the most effective ways to treat obesity. In fact, the journey of weight loss surgeries began as early as 1954, with the first bariatric surgery performed in humans. It can lead to significant weight loss and even reduce the risk of early death by 30 to 50 per cent.

Plus, it can help manage or even resolve health issues like high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Now, considering the long-term success rate of weight loss surgery, it’s a viable option for many.

However, you must understand the post-bariatric surgery lifestyle and potential side effects before making a decision.

 

Types of Weight Loss Surgeries

The three main surgeries people choose for weight loss are —

  1. Gastric Bypass
  2. Sleeve Gastrectomy
  3. Gastric Band

Let’s give you a quick idea on them —

Gastric Bypass

In gastric bypass, the surgeon creates a smaller stomach pouch by stapling it and then connecting it to a section of the small intestine. This change reduces how much food you can eat and how many calories your body absorbs.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

It involves removing a large part of the stomach, which also limits how much you can eat. So, you must realize the changes these surgeries bring and be prepared for a post-bariatric surgery lifestyle to ensure long-term success.

Gastric Band

It’s a surgery where a doctor puts an adjustable band around the top of your stomach. You can adjust this band to control how much your stomach can hold.

 

Effectiveness Of Surgery For Weight Loss

Weight loss surgery offers several health and lifestyle advantages. Its primary focus is to lower the health risks linked to obesity. Here’s a clearer breakdown —

  • The surgery can decrease the chances of illnesses or even death due to obesity.
  • After the surgery, many people feel and look better.
  • Undergoing weight loss surgery might also lower your risk of cancer.
  • It can reduce the money spent on medicines and decrease sick leave from work.
  • Numerous studies indicate that weight loss surgery can put type 2 diabetes into recovery.

However, weight loss surgery is just a tool, not a sure thing. Stomach stapling, for instance, makes a small egg-sized pouch. In that case, drinking lots of fizzy drinks can stretch this pouch, making the surgery less effective.

 

Why Weight Loss Surgery?

Why Weight Loss Surgery?

Obesity is a prevalent health issue in the U.S. and globally. For those severely affected, surgery often becomes the most effective solution, much like how surgeries address heart or kidney problems.

Here’s what to know —

Diet and Exercise

Many people have tried managing obesity through diet and exercise. Some find temporary success, but the weight often returns. Well, the reasons you’re not losing weight might differ from person to person.

BMI and Surgery

For individuals with a BMI over 35, there is a less than 1% chance of acquiring a healthy weight without treatment. It makes surgery a viable option for those with extreme obesity.

Low Uptake

Surprisingly, only 1% of people who can get obesity surgery actually do it. About 228,000 people in the U.S. have this surgery every year.

who can get obesity surgery

Beyond Weight Loss

The surgery doesn’t just address obesity. It also helps manage conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, acid reflux and heart disease. Additionally, you’d be better off taking heart healthy foods.

Moreover, it significantly reduces the risk of death from various ailments, including cancer.

Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You?

The top health groups, ASMBS and IFSO, have updated their rules on who can get weight-loss surgery. You might be a good fit if you —

  • Are 18 or older
  • You’ve tried other weight loss methods without surgery
  • Having a BMI of 35 or more
  • Or, suffer from severe diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea with a BMI over 30
  • Understand the surgery and what you’ll need to do afterwards

If you’re thinking about this surgery, you’ll need to be ready to change your daily habits, like what you eat and how often you exercise. Before the surgery, you’ll talk with a team of experts, including a surgeon, diet expert, heart doctor, and others.

They’re there to help you get ready for the surgery and life after it.

 

Understanding Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery can come with some risks. The type of surgery you choose and any health issues you had before can affect these risks. In the first six weeks after surgery, some common issues include —

  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Problems with the bowels, like blockages or leaks
  • Feeling sick, dehydrated, or throwing up

There are also serious health risks to be aware of, like —

  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Lung problems
  • Infections in the urinary tract

While there have been rare cases of death after procedures like the gastric balloon, they’re very rare.

Now, if you face any bariatric surgery side effects or complications, it’s best to get care at centres that specialize in weight loss surgery. These centres usually have —

  • Expert doctors and surgeons who’ve done many weight loss surgeries.
  • A way to reach out to your healthcare team anytime, even on holidays.
  • Support from counsellors, dietitians, and nurses.
  • Regular check-ups after your surgery.
  • Staff who are trained to care for obese patients after weight loss surgery, including anesthesiologists and nurses.

 

Conclusion

So, how effective is weight loss surgery? Well, many people see big changes in their health after this surgery. In fact, it’s a great way to tackle obesity. But, its results can be different for everyone.

It’s not a quick fix. After the surgery, you’ll need to live a certain way. You’ll need to get in touch with surgeons and doctors to stay on the safe side post-surgery.

We provided as much as we could to provide you with knowledge. So, understand what to expect and how to adapt. By doing so, you’re setting yourself up for the best possible outcome. After all, it’s your health, your choice, and your future.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which weight loss surgery has fewer side effects?

Most weight loss surgeries are safe, but among the three main types, gastric sleeve surgery tends to have fewer complications and is more effective for losing weight.

Do all weight loss surgeries work?

Each type of weight loss surgery has its own advantages and disadvantages. They all work to some extent, but results can vary. A common way to measure success is if you keep off at least 50% of the weight for five years after the surgery.

When was the first bariatric surgery performed and what was it called?

The first surgery specifically for weight loss was the jejunoileal bypass, done in the 1950s at the University of Minnesota. It bypassed most of the intestine. However, it led to serious nutritional and vitamin issues, and it’s not done anymore.

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