Obesity Fact #9: Bariatric Surgery Works
The final obesity fact in the New England Journal of Medicine Paper on obesity myths, presumptions and facts states simply that,
“In appropriate patients, bariatric surgery results in long-term weight loss and reductions in the rate of incident diabetes and mortality.”
and hasten to add that,
“For severely obese persons, bariatric surgery can offer a life-changing, and in some cases lifesaving, treatment.”
This is not a fact anyone can argue with, as the data on the overwhelming benefits of bariatric surgery for patients with severe obesity are now well documented.
This is not to say (as regular readers will recall) that there are not inherent risks in undergoing bariatric surgery, both in the short and long-term. But, for patients with significant obesity related health problems, the benefits far outweigh these risks.
Nevertheless, bariatric surgery should never be seen as a quick fix (it is not), as a desperate measure (it is not), or as a treatment to be reserved for only the most severe and intractable cases (it is not). Rather, modern bariatric surgery, done in the right patient with the right pre- and post-surgical care, is currently the accepted treatment for patients, who need to lose more than 20% of their body weight for health reasons.
The more health reasons the patient has, the more benefits there will be.
Readers interested in a more comprehensive discussion of the pros and cons of bariatric surgery may wish to read a previous series I wrote on this topic.