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The worldwide prevalence of obesity both in developed and developing countries has become one of the major health issues that need to be addressed urgently. Nearly one third of the global population is obese and the numbers are increasing every day. Obesity is the major cause of a number of life-threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart diseases along with some cancers like colon cancer and breast cancer. Increasing cases of obesity has also given rise to the number of weight loss surgery procedures. But are these procedures really safe and can their benefits outweigh the risks involved? In this article we are going to make a detailed analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of bariatric surgery - one of the most popular surgery procedures for weight loss preferred by doctors and masses.
What is Bariatric Surgery?
Before getting on with the advantages and disadvantages of bariatric surgery, let us gather some idea about the surgery itself. Bariatric surgery is a collective term for a number of weight loss procedures that can be administered on a morbidly obese individual when all other conventional methods of weight loss such as exercise and diet have failed to show result. A person is identified as obese if his or her body mass index (BMI) is over 30 and is identified as severely obese if their BMI is over 40.
Advantages of Bariatric Surgery
Effective Treatment for Severe Obesity:
Severe obesity is the most serious stage of obesity where the person other than being seriously overweight might also be suffering from some serious diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart diseases, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems. Surgical intervention in the form of bariatric surgery is the best option to combat severe obesity and maintain healthy weight in the long run.
Long term Weight Loss Success:
Bariatric surgery is the best surgery for weight loss because it guarantees long-term weight loss success which cannot be guaranteed by any diet or workout regime. Research shows that more than 90 percent of people who were affected by severe obesity previously are able to maintain 50 percent of their weight loss after undergoing bariatric surgery. Those affected by super severe obesity are also able to maintain almost 50 percent excess body weight loss.
Several studies on large population shows that individuals suffering from severe obesity who have undergone bariatric surgery are at lower risk of death compared to individuals affected by obesity who did not undergo the surgery. Another study comparing mortality rates of bariatric and non-bariatric patients found that bariatric patients have a 90 percent reduction in death associated with diabetes and 50 percent reduction in death associated with heart diseases. The mortality rate of bariatric surgery is 3 out of 1000, which is exceptionally low and quite amazing considering the fact that most patients affected by severe obesity have poor health and suffer from one or more life-threatening diseases.
Improvement or Resolution of Existing Diseases:
The benefits of bariatric surgery are not limited to weight loss only. Weight reduction surgery also helps in improving the condition of the coexisting diseases significantly. Bariatric surgery results in massive weight loss which in turn improves or in some cases cures obesity-related diseases. The coexisting diseases include hypertension, asthma, obesity-related breathing disorders, arthritis, lipid abnormalities, fatty liver disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, urinary incontinence, and more. Bariatric surgery also leads to remission of type 2 diabetes, which was considered a progressive and incurable disease in the past.
Improvement in the Quality of Life:
In addition to the improvements in overall health and longevity, bariatric surgery also has some psychological benefits as well. Surgical weight loss improves overall quality of life of the patients. It helps to improve the patient's self-esteem and mobility which has a positive impact on his or her work, social interactions and sexual function. Singlehood, disability, anxiety and depression are substantially reduced after the bariatric surgery procedure.
Disadvantages of Bariatric Surgery
Permanent and lifelong Change:
Bariatric surgery is a major surgery that calls for permanent and lifelong changes in your diet and lifestyle in order to achieve a successful outcome. The patient has to follow strict dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes. Patients will be required to visit the doctor for regular check-upsseveral times in a year or for the rest of their lives.
Risk of Anaemia and Malnourishment:
Some of the bariatric surgery procedures involve gastric bypass which affects the way the digestive system absorbsnutrients and calories from foods. Therefore, anaemia and malnourishment can occur post-surgery and the patient may have to take vitamin and mineral supplements for a long term.
Approximately 10 percent of the patients face post-operative complications like bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, ulcers, obstructions, urinary tract infection, etc.
This is a common problem that happens after bariatric surgery if the patient consumes high-sugar meals. The sugary foods can cause vomiting, nausea and weakness as they rush through the stomach.
Risk of Gallstone Formation:
Rapid weight loss can make the patient susceptible to gallstones. Almost 50 percent patients develop gallstones after bariatric surgery and it can cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
As with any major surgery, there are a number of risks involved with bariatric surgery as well. But, we can see that the numerous advantages of this weight loss surgery outweigh its disadvantages. But still, it is important to understand the risk and dangers before undergoing this surgery. You can consult with an experienced bariatric surgeon who will be able to provide you the detailed information about bariatric surgery procedures, its pros and cons and whether you are the right candidate for this procedure. Are you in search of a reliable and skilled bariatric surgeon in Chennai? You can get in touch with Dr.J.K.A. Jameel and discuss about any concerns that you might have. He is a renowned Surgical Gastroenterologist who specializes in bariatric surgery, surgical gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery.