Many of our patients who suffer from obesity and its related diseases have tried repeatedly to lose weight. Behavior modification, dietary management, exercise and drug therapies have all failed to provide significant and long term success and wellness. Metabolic and bariatric surgery remains the only proven long term treatment for obesity and obesity related diseases.
Weight loss after metabolic and bariatric surgery is defined as the percentage of excess weight loss where excess weight is the number of pounds over the patient’s ideal body weight. In a meta-analysis by Buchwald (2004), the average percentage of excess weight loss for all types of surgeries combined was 61%. Currently the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery states that on average patients lose 77% of their excess weight in the first twelve months following surgery.
Surgery not only results in significant weight loss; it also dramatically resolves or improves many of the obesity related diseases. No other treatment modality in all of medicine can treat as many disease processes with a single intervention.
With increased wellness following surgery, patients see a dramatic increase in quality of life. Surgery also improves life expectancy. Cristou (2004) demonstrated an 89% relative risk reduction in 5 year mortality for bariatric surgery patients compared to medically managed patients.
Surgery Safety And Risk
Clinical studies continue to demonstrate significant improvements in safety and decrease risk with metabolic and bariatric surgery. Risk of death following surgery is about 0.1% which is less than gallbladder surgery (0.7%) and hip surgery (0.93%). Overall likelihood of major complications following surgery is about 2.5%. This increased safety is due primarily to increased use of laparoscopy, advances in surgical techniques and more stringent standards of care.