Weight loss surgery is a huge life decision, and it’s not one to be taken lightly. While the promise of weight loss is what causes many to turn to surgery, this surgery can also improve overall health, lower the risk of many diseases, and improve emotional health. If you are considering weight loss surgery, take a look at the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide if this life-saving surgery is right for you.
Pros of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery has multiple benefits that have been proven time and time again. The most obvious benefit is, of course, weight loss, which is the primary goal of the surgery. Yet beyond shedding pounds, weight loss surgery has many other health benefits.
Longer Life Span
Obesity decreases an individual’s expected lifespan. Those who undergo weight loss surgery may have a lower risk of death in the five to 10 years after surgery compared to those who do not have surgery. In a study that watched 2,500 weight loss surgery patients who had an average BMI of 47, re
searchers at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle found that mortality rates at 5 years post surgery were 4 percent lower than a control group. At the 10-year mark, mortality rates were nearly 10 percent lower.
Diabetes Treatment and Prevention
Type 2 diabetes has no cure, but weight loss surgery has shown to be highly effective in putting Type 2 diabetes in remission. It also may prevent diabetes in individuals who are at risk for developing it due to their weight and current blood sugar level readings.
Improved Mental Health
Successful weight loss surgery followed by weight loss causes a significant improvement in quality of life. A Spanish research study published in Science Daily in 2015 also found that the surgery improved mental health for patients. Improved quality of life and improved mental health are directly related.
Improved Liver Function
Losing weight through weight loss surgery is linked to improved liver function. Science Daily reports that weight loss surgery combined with lifestyle modifications can reduce features of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, also known as fatty liver disease.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Weight loss surgery has been linked to lower blood pressure levels, fewer heart attacks or cardiovascular related deaths, and improved blood lipid levels. All of this combines to make the cardiovascular system healthier.
Less Reliance on Medication
Improved cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and fewer problems from Type 2 diabetes, all lead to less dependence on medication. For obese individuals on a long list of medications, this is welcome news.
Improved Gut Health
When a patient undergoes weight loss surgery and lifestyle modifications, an improvement in microbiomes in the gut is commonly seen. One study found that this improvement lasts at least a decade in female weight loss surgery patients. In addition, weight loss surgery has been linked to improved gut hormone profiles, which contributes to further weight loss.
Cons of Weight Loss Health
Is weight loss surgery a magic cure for obesity? It is effective, but no treatment for this complex disease works like a “magic pill.” There are some drawbacks to weight loss surgery that you need to consider.
Weight loss surgery does not mean automatic weight loss. Lasting weight loss is going to require that the patient follow a strict eating and exercise routine. The procedure helps patients lose weight of course, but it is not a one-and-done solution. Following and diet and exercise routine is paramount to lasting weight loss success.
Eating after weight loss surgery can feel restrictive, particularly for patients who were not dieting prior to surgery. Because weight loss surgery causes the food to pass through the digestive system quickly, or limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time, patients need to follow a strict eating plan rich in nutrients. Also, patients will need supplements daily to make up for any missing nutrients. Vitamin and protein malnutrition is likely to occur if the patient does not follow the vitamin and diet recommendations.
Risks of Surgery
Weight loss surgery is considered major surgery. It carries all of the risks of most major surgeries, such as blood clots, infection, and blood loss. Weight loss surgery patients even face the potential of fatal complications. While weight loss surgery is a common, safe, and effective treatment for the disease of obesity, all risks should be considered and discussed with a healthcare professional.
Potential Regaining of Weight
Finally, it is possible to regain weight after weight loss surgery. If patients do not stick to the eating plan and exercise routine, or if another medical issue occurs, weight can return. Be sure to follow all the lifestyle changes advised by your doctor, and consider working with a mental health professional to help with the emotional aspects of the changes taking place.
Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?
No one can decide if weight loss surgery is right for you, other than you with the help of your doctor. If you are considering weight loss surgery, you could be making a decision that sparks a major positive change in your health and your life. Be certain to weigh the pros and cons, and then move forward with confidence in your decision.