Weight-loss surgery, also known as Bariatric surgery, is a medical procedure performed by a highly trained specialist to treat obesity or reduce weight-related health complications. The surgical procedure changes the structure of the digestive tract, which makes you eat less and helps reduce your weight.

This weight loss surgery is an effective treatment for people with high BMI and for those who have not been able to get rid of excess weight with other weight loss attempts.

However, the surgery is not suitable for everyone with obesity. Weight loss surgery involves a degree of risk and requires a commitment to a lifelong change. Experts of this procedure suggest that this surgery is exceptionally beneficial for people with body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more but not recommended for those with only a few pounds to lose.

Read on to find out the positive and negative implications of this surgery.

What are the benefits of Bariatric Surgery?

Improved life expectancy

Several studies have found that the majority of obese patients who have bariatric surgery have a lower risk of death than other obese people. One of these studies discovered an up to 80% reduction in mortality for those who underwent bariatric surgery as compared to people of similar age, sex, and BMI who had not undergone bariatric surgery. Another study comparing bariatric and non-bariatric patients discovered a more than 90% reduction in death from diabetes and heart disease, particularly in younger individuals.

Cures obesity-related health conditions

The major benefit of weight-loss surgery isn’t just the weight loss — it’s that it can reverse the most dangerous side-effects of obesity. Bariatric surgery often helps to lose excess weight and improve diseases and health issues associated with obesity. 80% of obese people also have at least one weight-related chronic health condition. The surgery helps in significant improvement in those diseases caused or worsened by obesity, which include:

·         Type 2 diabetes

·         Hypertension (high blood pressure)

·         Sleep apnea

·         Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

·         High cholesterol

·         Arthritis

·         Fatty liver

·         Stress urinary incontinence

·         Heart disease

Long term weight loss success

Bariatric surgeries help to consistently achieve and maintain long-term weight loss goals. Clinical studies show that most patients lose weight quickly after surgery and continue to do so for 18 to 24 months. By most estimates, more than 90 percent of patients who have bariatric surgery are successful in shedding 50 percent or more of their excess weight following the procedure.

Speeds up metabolism

It has been observed that after the surgery, most patients benefit from improved biological processes to manage energy. This is because the procedure affects hormonal signals by changing the anatomy of the stomach and/or intestine, resulting in decreased appetite, increased feelings of fullness, increased metabolism, and healthier food preferences. Furthermore, hormones such as insulin and cortisol (stress hormone) return to normal levels, aiding in the reduction of fat storage in the body.

Better quality of life

With bariatric surgery, people with severe obesity not only achieve improvement in health and longevity but also improve their overall quality of life. Measures of quality of life that are affected by bariatric surgeries that include high self-esteem, improved mobility, work and social interactions, and sexual functions. Body dysmorphia, or negative feelings about your body tend to improve post-surgery. Furthermore, anxiety and depression are significantly reduced following the surgery.

Other benefits of weight loss through bariatric surgery include:

·         Improved fertility

·         Reduced attacks of migraine and asthma

·         Reduced liver diseases and urinary incontinence

·         Lower pregnancy complications

·         Reduced metabolic syndrome and gallbladder disease

What are the physical, social and psychological concerns of bariatric surgery?

Although most doctors consider bariatric surgery to be effective, it is important to note that it does not come without risks. Sometimes, it takes months for you to resume your normal daily activities following surgery. Also, in the months following bariatric surgery, you may be at increased risk for certain health complications. Some common post-op risks and side effects associated with bariatric surgery which you should be prepared for include:

·         Anesthesia-related risks

·         Chronic nausea and vomiting

·         Depression, especially in people who experienced depression before surgery

·         Alcohol and substance abuse disorders

·         Changes in social relationship

·         Hair loss

·         Inability to eat certain foods

·         Excess skin, bone and muscle loss

·         Sagging skin

·         Long-term vitamin and mineral deficiencies

·         Gallstones

Some people will require additional surgeries to achieve additional weight loss, remove sagging skin, address additional medical concerns, or induce weight loss that was regained following surgery.

Final thoughts 

Weight management is a lifelong journey. If you are looking forward to a leaner version of yourself, it is important to remember that surgical interventions alone do not result in long-term weight loss. It is only effective if you change your eating habits, increase your physical activity, and are willing to commit to regular postoperative follow-up visits.

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