YOUR HEALTH: Balancing bariatric benefits and risks

Worldwide, about 580,000 people undergo these procedures each year.
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 4:42 AM CST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - Gastric bypass and other weight loss procedures that are known collectively known as bariatric surgery help people who are obese shed extra pounds.

Worldwide, about 580,000 people undergo these procedures each year. But did you know bariatric surgery offers benefits beyond weight loss?

“We found that patients with morbidity who underwent bariatric surgery had a significantly lower risk of death and also heart failure, heart attack, and stroke,” said Amgad Mentias, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Another study published in JAMA found obese adults who lost weight with bariatric surgery had a 32% lower risk of developing cancer and a 48% lower risk of cancer-related death compared to those who didn’t have surgery.

Other research has shown bariatric surgery puts type 2 diabetes into remission, lessens joint pain, relieves depression, and even improves fertility. It’s also effective for sleep apnea. More than 80% of people experience remission of their sleep apnea one year after surgery.

“If a patient was diagnosed with obesity, they should not delay the decision to seek help if they have been trying to lose weight and have not been very successful,” Dr. Mentias said.

As with any surgery, there are also risks such as infection, blood clots, bleeding, and more. Experts said you should speak with your doctor about both the benefits and the risks of bariatric surgery before making a decision.

While the numbers depend on the type of bariatric surgery you have, people often experience a 40% to 80% reduction in excess weight after having the procedure.

The risk of death associated with bariatric surgery is about .1%, and the likelihood of having a major complication is about 4%, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

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