Once upon a time, stomach stapling and other forms of bariatric surgery were incredibly rare procedures. Over time, however, it became clear that the outcomes from these procedures were incredibly positive. So much so in fact, that it is now a very popular procedure.
Why Weight Loss Surgery Is Now So Common
People don’t like to have surgery, but it seems we jump at the opportunity to have this procedure completed. This is mainly because it is a significant investment with a very high return. There is no form of treatment that has results as positive as these with people who are morbidly obese. Furthermore, post-op outcomes are incredibly good, with notable reductions and even remission in sleep disorder, musculoskeletal conditions, cardiovascular ill-health, and diabetes. Of greatest importance is that these improvements seem to be long lasting, because patients find it much easier to maintain a healthy weight for many years.
The Journal of the American Medical Association has stated that bariatric surgery is the best form of sustained treatment for people who are morbidly obese. They released a number of statistics to demonstrate this:
- Maximum weight loss happens some 18 to 24 months after surgery.
- The average weight loss is 60% of excess weight.
- Weight loss is maintained five years post-op in most cases.
- 50% of people maintain weight loss 14 years after surgery.
No other form of weight loss treatment has these types of success rates.
Someone is classed as being morbidly obese if they are 100 pounds overweight or more. This means their body mass index (BMI) is at least 39. Someone with a BMI of between 35 and 39 can also be a suitable candidate for this type of surgery, particularly if they have comorbid disorders.
There are a number of factors other than BMI that will determine whether or not someone is eligible for bariatric surgery. This includes:
- People who cannot commit to making permanent lifestyle changes.
- People who eat a lot of junk food and sweets and don’t intend to stop.
- People who have complex health conditions that means they may not be able to have surgery.
The complication rates of this type of surgery are lower than 2%. Mortality rates are below 0.5%. As a result, they are as safe as most elective procedures, and much safer than emergency procedures such as the heart bypass. Post-operative complications are surprisingly rare, particularly because people who are obese tend to be in very poor health. Plus, surgery is now performed laparoscopically wherever possible, sometimes even through single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), which means the chance of complications is reduced even further.
That being said, bariatric surgery is still surgery. It is also not easy, because you do have to make permanent lifestyle changes, and you must learn to come to love the new you. But without surgery, you are sure to end up in a very early grave, so most would agree the small risks are definitely worth it.