Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

What Are the Benefits of Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is the medical term for weight-loss surgery. It encompasses a range of procedures for reducing appetite and food consumption, with the goal of improving a person’s health. Obesity is a common health condition in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that roughly 40 percent of all adult Americans are obese, that is, substantially overweight. Obesity is associated with a number of health risks, including cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, and is also linked to increases in early mortality.

Bariatric surgery has many potentially positive benefits, including significant weight loss, improved health status, enhanced quality of life, and longer lifespan. For more information, see your Baptist Health medical provider or a member of our bariatric team.

How Is Weight Loss Surgery Good for You?

There are multiple benefits associated with bariatric surgery for obesity:

Weight Loss

Persons undergoing bariatric surgery often achieve major weight loss, due to diminished appetite and greater satiety (feeling of fullness) when eating. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) has determined that about 90 percent of bariatric-surgery patients lose 50 percent of their excess weight, with only limited risk of regaining it later.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Obesity is strongly linked to an increased likelihood of heart disease. Weight loss reduces this risk, along with that of stroke.

Remission of Type 2 Diabetes

Being overweight is often a precondition for type-2 or late-onset diabetes. A recent study by the Cleveland Clinic found that this form of the disease sometimes enters remission in conjunction with substantial weight loss.

Enhanced Joint Function

Carrying extra weight can be hard on the joints. Bariatric surgery patients have reported reductions in chronic pain and improved functioning of the joints following their procedure.

Increases in Fertility

Obesity reduction has been shown to increase fertility in women.

Sleep Apnea Relief

Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder exacerbated by obesity. Restoring a healthy body weight decreases symptoms and can sometimes reduce the need for a CPAP machine during sleep.

Elimination of Other Medical Problems

There is evidence suggesting that the loss of excess weight can eliminate or at least diminish other problematic medical conditions, including metabolic syndrome, gallbladder disease, and complications associated with pregnancy.

Improved Psychological Health

The benefits of weight-loss surgery extend to mental health. Patients may be less prone to anxiety and depression, and more likely to pursue life-positive activities.
Though in many cases the benefits of bariatric surgery outweigh the risks, there are some things to keep in mind regarding these procedures. Not everyone loses as much weight as he or she would like and, without changes in diet and exercise following surgery, some early losses might be reversed over time. In a few instances, ulcers, nutritional shortfalls, and other negative side effects have resulted, sometimes requiring rehospitalization and new procedures.

Bariatric Surgery Procedures

There is a wide array of bariatric procedures. They can be divided into three categories, based on the medical strategy that informs their approach: Blocking procedures, restrictive procedures, and mixed procedures.

Blocking procedures focus on reducing food absorption, while also impacting stomach size. Restrictive procedures decrease stomach size, causing people to feel full after eating less. Mixed procedures combine blocking and restricting techniques, while also altering the gut-hormone levels that govern hunger.

Blocking procedures: 

  • Biliopancreatic diversion—The benefits of biliopancreatic diversion are that you will feel full sooner because you will possess a smaller stomach. This procedure also changes how your stomach and small intestine work. You will absorb less calories from the food you eat.
  • Jejunoileal sleeve—By bypassing 90% of your small intestine, you reduce the absorption of calories. 

Restrictive procedures: 

  • Gastric banding—This procedure is less invasive than other options. Gastric banding is also a shorter procedure that you can reverse.
  • Stomach folding—The benefits of stomach folding include: the procedure is typically less expensive than other options, often results in fewer complications from malabsorption, performed laparoscopically, and no portion of your stomach is cut or removed.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy—The benefits of sleeve gastrectomy are that it is minimally invasive, and it reduces the likelihood of weight-related health issues. 

Mixed procedures: 

  • Gastric bypass surgery—In this procedure, your doctor reduces the size of your stomach, prompting you to lose weight. Absorption is one of the benefits of gastric bypass surgery. This procedure can also help reduce your risk of high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy with duodenal switch—This procedure targets weight loss from two directions: reducing the size of the stomach and bypassing the intestines. This procedure can help with issues related to blood pressure, stroke, infertility, and heart disease.

Medical data increasingly shows bariatric surgery as an effective means of combating obesity. It is important to note, however, that surgical procedures must be supplemented by a lifelong commitment to healthy diet and exercise for positive gains to be fully realized and maintained.