7 Bariatric Surgery Benefits Besides Helping You Lose Weight
Learn how bariatric surgery works better than diet and exercise for significant weight loss and the many additional health benefits that come with it.
You’d probably eat less if you felt full after eating a small amount of food. That’s exactly what bariatric surgery does and why it helps people lose weight.
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Bariatric surgery enhances weight loss in obese people who have not achieved long-term success with other weight loss attempts. Bariatric surgery reduces the stomach’s storage capacity, which limits food intake and helps you feel full much sooner than normal.
But there’s more than one type of bariatric surgery. Options include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding and gastric plication. Your physician can help determine if you’re a candidate and, if so, which option will work best for you.
“If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more, this means you likely need to lose over 65 pounds,” says bariatric surgery nurse Karen Schulz, MSN, CNS, CBN. Without making changes, you could develop serious health issues because of the excess weight. Almost all people with a BMI of 40 or more are candidates for the surgery.
With their smaller stomachs, people who have had the surgery need to eat very slowly and take tiny bites. “One of the hardest adjustments for patients is that they cannot drink liquids while eating. Patients should drink their fluids at least 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after eating, but it doesn’t take long for most people to adjust,” Ms. Schulz says.
Those who have had the surgery also take vitamins and supplements recommended by a nutritionist who counsels patients after the procedure.
Bariatric surgery offers people significant and sustained weight loss.
“Most people who need to lose 65 or more pounds have tried multiple times to lose the weight on their own. While they may have some success at first, less than five percent of people keep the weight off for five years or more,” says bariatric surgeon and Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric and Metabolic Institute Philip Schauer, MD. In fact, he says they usually gain the weight back in less than a year.
Losing the weight and gaining it back does nothing to mitigate the potential health problems associated with obesity. You must keep the weight off for a minimum of five years to consider the loss a success and one that can result in a happier, healthier you.
Benefits of sustained weight loss through bariatric surgery include:
With obesity and its associated health complications rising at an alarming rate in America, bariatric surgery certainly represents a powerful tool for providing sustained relief for overweight people.
Dr. Schauer warns that it’s important to choose a facility with extensive experience in performing these procedures. “Bariatric surgery is very safe and, when performed by a knowledgeable and experienced team, comes with no more risk than a knee or gall bladder surgery,” he says.
The best facilities have a team of experts to help guide people through pre-surgery counseling and give ongoing support afterward.
“Patients have the best chance of success when supported by an experienced medical team that includes surgeons, bariatric medical physicians, nurses, psychologists, endocrinologists, and dietitians,” says Ms. Schulz.