Pros and Cons of Weight Loss Surgery

If you’ve tried countless times to lose weight and keep it off, you’re not alone. Millions of people just like you have spent years struggling with failed attempts at dieting and exercise.

Whether to undergo bariatric surgery is a big decision. Weight-loss surgery is the most effective way to find long-term success losing weight and maintaining the weight loss. However, for the procedure to be successful, patients need to commit to permanent lifestyle changes. 

To make the right decision for your situation, you need a good understanding of what to expect before, during, and after surgery.

Weighing Your Weight Loss Surgery Decision

thinking about weight loss surgeryAs with any major surgery, the decision to undergo weight-loss surgery should not be made lightly.

Bariatric surgery is a viable option for many because the benefits outweigh the risks associated with obesity. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with weight-loss surgery.

Is bariatric surgery right for you?

The Pros

  • Long-term weight-loss. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) reports more than 90 percent of severely obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery keep off at least 50 percent of their excess weight loss. Success rates in general for bariatric surgery patients are much higher than those who try diet and exercise alone.
  • Increased lifespan. Losing weight helps you live longer.  ASMBS reports about a 90 percent mortality reduction for those who have surgery. Other studies show about a 90 percent reduction in diabetes-related deaths and a 50 percent reduction in heart disease-related death after weight loss surgery.
  • Reversal of conditions/diseases. Bariatric surgery reverses or eliminates many chronic conditions  associated with obesity, such as  diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis, cholesterol issues, fatty liver disease, stress incontinence, and much more.  Many bariatric patients are often able to reduce or even eliminate medications and unwanted side effects).
  • Increased quality of life. Weight-loss helps: increase  mobility, positive  social interactions including friendships, dating and marriage, employment success, reduction in injury, and restore  sexual function/satisfaction. 
  • Better mental health. Bariatric surgery helps to increase self-esteem, positive thinking and participation in life while reducing or eliminating  depression, loneliness and anxiety. 

The Cons

  • No guarantees. The amount of weight loss varies among individuals and you must exercise and eat right for long-term success.
  • Complications. Acute complications occur in five to ten percent of patients. Hernias and strictures, caused by a newly created “pouch” with too narrow a passage.
  • Nutritional deficiencies. Weight-loss surgery changes the way your body processes food and absorbs nutrients. Multivitamins and supplements are often needed to prevent deficiencies, especially in iron and the B vitamins.
  • Emotional disorders. Adjusting to a changing body and the new attention from friends, family, and others can be difficult to process.  Attending bariatric support groups and individual therapy sessions can help you to discuss and successfully address any issues.
  • Dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome (also called rapid gastric emptying) occurs when food, usually high in sugar, moves from the stomach too fast and "dumps" into the small bowel.

Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You?

bariatric surgery and weight loss

Research shows those who combine bariatric surgery with exercise and a healthy diet achieve long-term success in keeping off most of their weight, increase their lifespans, reduce or eliminate disease, reduce or eliminate the need for medications, and increase their overall quality of life, physically and emotionally.

Weight-loss surgery does have risks for potential medical and surgical complications. Patients might also have physical and emotional struggles with their changing bodies and restrictions on what and how much they can eat.

If you struggle with obesity after  numerous attempts to lose weight through diet and exercise alone, weight-loss surgery might be right for you.

Contact the experienced team of weight loss specialists at West Suburban Medical Center to schedule a consultation. You can also register for an online bariatric surgery information session to learn about which type of weight-loss surgery best fits your needs.

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