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Benefits of Surgery 

Health Improvements
This risk of surgical mortality, defined as death within thirty days of a bariatric operation, ranges from .1-.5%. This is equal to elective gallbladder surgery and, in fact, ten times less than that of colon surgery. The risk of early death from obesity related conditions, however, is two to twelve times higher than that of the general population. The comorbidities associated with this disease are truly devastating.

Bariatric surgery is unique in that it can result in complete resolution of multiple disease processes with a singular intervention and appropriate lifestyle modification. To date, there is no other procedure in all of medicine that can boast similar effects. Following surgery, the cure and improvement rates for diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, hyperlipidemia, joint disease, GERD, and many other afflictions are remarkable. Most studies show a collective improvement/cure rate of around 90% for these comorbidities.

It’s quite common – in fact, it’s expected – to see someone who is on eight to ten medications before surgery to be taking only a daily vitamin by twelve months after the procedure. Furthermore, research is now showing that the risk of cancer (regardless of type) is reduced by up to 50%. These benefits are truly amazing and unparalleled in the medical field.

Increased Life Expectancy
It comes as no surprise that life expectancy increases with the improvement or resolution of other medical conditions. In fact, studies on bariatric patients five years after surgery have shown anywhere from a 40-90% reduction in the death rate. Another large study in 2007 looked at 14,000 subjects and found that, at seven years post-surgery, those who had undergone gastric bypass procedures enjoyed a 56% decrease in mortality from heart disease, a 92% decrease in mortality from diabetes and had 60% less cancer deaths when compared to the morbidly obese population without intervention.

Improved Lifestyle
Although the above statistics regarding the reduction of medical problems and increase in longevity are significant and truly amazing benefits of bariatric surgery, the extraordinary improvements in lifestyle are often the most exciting and dramatic change for many of our patients.

Those who suffer from morbid obesity know that its effects are much deeper than a list of medical problems. It is a disease that affects every aspect of life. It limits daily activities, places strain on relationships, drains vital energy and can even derail career paths. Many simply give up hope on ever achieving the life they’ve dreamed of or returning to the life they may have once had.

However, as the weight comes off, this cycle is broken and hope is reborn. Tasks that were once a strain – like walking up the stairs, mowing the lawn, or even taking the kids to the park – are once again easy and enjoyable. Things like going to the amusement park, riding a bike, shopping for “normal” clothes or traveling by airplane are no longer intimidating. Energy, along with confidence and independence, return and grow. Many of our patients will even pick up new hobbies, seek further education, start a new career or recommit to goals that once felt out of reach. The whole world opens back up and life begins anew. Bariatric surgery becomes a truly life-altering event for most of our patients, especially those who commit to it entirely.

Of course, some challenges after weight loss surgery are to be expected. As with all surgeries, surgical complications can and do occur. Likewise, lifestyle changes will be difficult: being active and eating healthy are learned processes and will take time and practice to fully understand. Certainly, the road to achieving your goals will not be an easy one, but for those who are willing to commit to success and follow a disciplined strategy, the reward will be worth it. For us, nothing brings greater joy than to walk along side our patients through this transformation.