Weight Loss Surgery - Helpful, Harmful, Or Both?


Choosing to undergo weight loss surgery can be a hard and frightening decision to make. As with any major surgery, these procedures carry their share of risks and benefits.

There are many risks of weight loss surgery, including:

Complications due to existing health problems or medications Anesthesia Leaks from bands and staples loosening Infections Heart burn Indigestion Vitamin and mineral deficiencies Pneumonia Bleeding Bowel obstruction Abdominal discomfort (should be temporary) Dumping syndrome (abdominal pain, weakness, sweating, diarrhea) Stress, anxiety, depression resulting from changed body image and lifestyle Death (estimates

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However, there are also benefits to weight loss surgery:

Quick, drastic weight loss maintained long-term Cure or improve medical problems associated with obesity: diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, arthritis, asthma, infertility, heart disease Drastically decreased risk of death from obesity Decreased risk of developing certain forms of cancer Better ability to participate in recreational activities Improved social relationships Better overall sense of well-being

Whether someone experiences any of these risks or benefits depends on many things including their state before the weight loss surgery, and the support available to them after the surgery.

Without following the strict dietary and exercise guidelines given by their surgeon, you will not experience the positive outcomes and benefits possible. Many clinics offer support groups for people who have undergone surgical weight loss so that they may learn from one another and gain social support from those who have been through the same thing they have. The best way to prevent experiencing the risks and to get maximum benefit is for the patient to appropriately prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally before the procedure and to have a supportive social network of family and friends.

After the surgery, it is recommended that the patient begin walking regularly for the first four weeks to prevent some of the physical risks that could occur. The patient must also come in for follow-up appointments throughout life so that any problems that do occur can be quickly detected and fixed.

Despite all of the risks associated with surgical weight loss, the risks of obesity are equally if not more severe. Obesity is life-threatening and chronic and surgery is has been sanctioned as the only permanent solution to lose weight.

Once someone has decided that they would like to have weight loss surgery, they will need to discuss with their doctor which method would be best for them given their current weight, goals and medical history.

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