Benefits

Improved Quality of Life

Bariatric surgery will improve your quality of life in many ways. The constant feelings of hunger you experienced prior to surgery will diminish, and you'll become less preoccupied with food. As you lose significant amounts of weight, you'll find that you have more energy and everyday activities will no longer leave you short of breath.

Just a few months after surgery, you'll begin to feel proud of the way you look and feel. Eventually, you'll be able to fit into normal department store clothing and dress stylishly. As your focus on food lessens, you'll discover more outside interests. Feelings of self-consciousness and shame will be gradually replaced by feelings of confidence and self-control.

Because so many people are biased against the obese, losing weight will increase your social acceptance and open doors for better work opportunities, friendships, and intimate relationships. It is not uncommon for those on welfare to become employed or for singles to marry.

It is important to remember, though, that bariatric surgery is not a magic elixir for weight loss. It is a tool to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to achieve a healthier and fuller life. Surgery is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, but rather it allows diet and exercise to actually work.

Effectively Maintained Weight Loss

The ultimate measures of bariatric surgery are how much weight is lost, how long the weight loss lasts, improvement in health and quality of life, and safety. Weight loss is commonly reported in terms of percent excess weight loss (%EWL). The chart below lists results for various bariatric procedures, laparoscopic and open Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), laparoscopic and open biliopancreatic diversion (BPD)/duodenal switch (DS), and laparoscopic adjustable gastric band. Long-term results (>10 years) are not yet available for these operations.

Operation

1 year

2 years

5 years

10 years

Open RYGB1 70% 66% 55% 50%
Lap RYGB2 74% 80% 82%  
Open BPD/DS3 64% 77% 78% 78%
Lap BPD/DS4 65%      
Gastric Band5 63%
63%
53%  

It is important to note that most of these operations were performed on patients who have a BMI between 35 and 50. Studies of patients with a BMI > 50 showed that weight loss after BPD/DS was greater with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (MacLean et al.: Annals of Surgery, 2000). Gastric bypass provides faster substantial weight loss and a chance for weight regain after two years, but with a lower risk of long-term nutritional problems, as compared to BPD/DS. Overall, the BPD/DS provides greater overall weight loss for people who are severely overweight, but at a higher risk of nutritional problems. The gastric band provides more gradual weight loss, comparable to the gastric bypass, but the weight loss is maintained after two years without any nutritional problems. In addition, the gastric band is the least invasive and safest operation available.

Improvement of Obesity-Related Illnesses

Bariatric surgery not only helps you lose excess weight and keep it off, it also improves or cures most medical problems associated with obesity. Once patients begin to lose weight, they can usually cut down, or stop taking altogether, medications for these various co-morbidities. Remarkably, the blood sugar of many patients with diabetes normalizes within days of the operation.