The article below is from The US
news and World Report that highlights the benefits of weight loss
What are the Benefits of Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery can improve the health and lengthen the life span
of people who are severely obese. Those who have weight-loss surgery
are less likely to die from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
seven to 10 years following the procedure than similarly heavy people
who don't have the operation, according to two studies reported
in 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Other studies show
that for the severely obese, bariatric surgery is more effective
at achieving and maintaining weight loss than nonsurgical treatments.
As weight loss occurs, bariatric surgery patients may see improvements
in a number of serious medical conditions. For example:
- Ninety percent of diabetic patients see a marked improvement-and
often a complete resolution-of their disease.
- More than 60 percent of patients experience a significant reduction
in their cholesterol levels.
- Approximately 50 percent see a significant decrease in high
- Some 85 percent of patients who previously experienced sleep
apnea see a significant improvement in-and frequently a total
resolution of-that condition.
- Stress urinary incontinence lessens or is resolved in most patients.
- Many patients who were previously depressed report a significant
improvement in their overall mental health.
Because combined procedures typically result in more weight loss
than restrictive surgeries, patients who undergo Roux-en-Y and biliopancreatic
diversion bypass surgeries tend to see a greater improvement in
their health-and see it more quickly-than those who opt for the
Overall, the health benefits of bariatric surgery far outweigh the
risks for most severely obese patients-and many report feeling as
though they've been given a second chance at leading healthy lives.
Average weight lost
The amount of weight a patient loses after bariatric surgery depends
upon a number of factors, including the type of procedure performed,
the patient's health and weight before surgery (heavier patients
tend to lose more), and how faithfully the patient follows physician-recommended
diet and exercise plans. The following are weight-loss averages
for the various types of bariatric surgery:
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Within about 14 months, patients
who undergo the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass lose an average of 60 percent
of their excess body weight-or approximately 140 pounds.
Lap-Band® procedure. Weight loss following the Lap-Band
procedure averages 50 percent of patients' excess weight-or about
80 pounds-and typically occurs over two to three years.
Vertical banded gastroplasty. Patients who undergo VBG lose
an average of 50 percent of their excess body weight. Data suggest,
however, that over the long term, only a fourth of the patients
keep that much weight off.
Sleeve gastrectomy. The sleeve gastrectomy is a relatively
new procedure, and data are limited. Early studies indicate that
average weight loss falls between the losses seen with the Lap-Band
procedure and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
Biliopancreatic diversion bypass. Patients who undergo BPD
surgery lose an average of 70 to 80 percent of their excess body
weight within the first two years of the procedure.
Individual patients may lose more or less weight than indicated
by these national averages. Maintaining the weight loss depends
largely on a patient's post-surgical diet and level of physical
Many studies have documented long-term medical follow-up to be very
important in achieving maximal weight loss after bariatric surgery.
Patients are sometimes encouraged to continue with counseling for
eating disorders for at least two years. Postoperative counseling
serves not only to support patients as they work to significantly
alter their dietary and activity habits but also to guide them through
the physical, emotional, and social changes that inevitably result
from dramatic weight loss.