January 17, 2021

7 Bariatric Surgery Benefits Besides Helping You Lose Weight

What you should know about bariatric surgery

happy woman texting and laughing

Bariatric surgery can be life-changing for those who want to lose weight. But did you know that there are so many more health benefits to it besides just taking that weight off?

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Bariatric surgery can produce sustainable weight loss in those who have obesity who have not achieved long-term success with other weight loss attempts. There are different bariatric surgeries that are available. Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are the most common procedures.

Bariatric surgery reduces the stomach’s storage capacity, which limits food intake and helps you feel full much sooner than normal. Some bariatric procedures also limit the absorption of calories. Your doctor can help determine if you’re a candidate and, if so, which option will work best for you.

“Health risks may increase with higher body mass index. If you have a BMI of 35 or more, this means you likely need to lose over 65 pounds to lower your health risk.” says surgeon Walter Cha, MD. “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.”

More benefits than just weight loss

Bariatric surgery offers people significant and sustained weight loss.

“Many people who need to lose 65 or more pounds have tried multiple times to lose the weight on their own,” says Dr. Cha. “While they may have some success at first, less than 5% of people keep the weight off for five years or more. In fact, patients 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.

Advertisement

The benefits of bariatric surgery go beyond just losing weight:

  1. Long-term remission for type 2 diabetes. One study reported that bariatric surgery causes long-term remission of type 2 diabetes. The results of this study show the procedure is highly effective for those who have obesity and type 2 diabetes, allowing almost all patients to remain free of insulin and other related medications for at least three years after surgery.
  2. Improved cardiovascular health. Weight loss surgery decreases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral heart disease. Plus, one study even reported that the weight loss achieved from the surgery can help prevent the risk of death associated with stroke, hypertension and myocardial infarction. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can return to normal, or near normal after surgery, reducing these risks and improving overall well-being.
  3. Relief of depression. Many people who have obesity feel depressed because of poor body image and social stigma. Even younger people who carry significant excess weight find it difficult to participate in activities they might otherwise enjoy, leading to social isolation and depression. Losing this excess weight can improve emotional health in these patients. It was found that people who underwent bariatric surgery had a 32.7% decrease in depression at the time of surgery and 16.5% decrease six to 12 months after surgery.
  4. Eliminate obstructive sleep apnea. Achieving and sustaining a normal weight range often allows people with sleep apnea to stop using a CPAP machine at bedtime. About 80 to 85% of patients experience remission of their sleep apnea one year after surgery.
  5. Joint pain relief. Carrying around excessive weight puts a lot of stress on your weight-bearing joints, often causing chronic pain and joint damage. The significant and sustained weight loss that occurs after bariatric surgery relieves the stress on joints and often allows people to stop using pain medications and enjoy much more mobility.
  6. Improve fertility. Weight loss surgery can also improve fertility during childbearing years. One study reported that the risk of miscarriage may decline after bariatric surgery and can improve menstrual cycles in women who don’t ovulate.
  7. Alleviate other medical conditions. Weight loss surgery can also relieve metabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, gallbladder disease and more.

With obesity and its associated health complications rising at an alarming rate, bariatric surgery certainly represents a powerful tool for providing sustained relief for overweight people. When making this decision, 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,” says Dr. Cha.

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 Dr. Cha.

Dietary adjustments after bariatric surgery

With their smaller stomachs, people who have had the surgery need to eat very slowly and take tiny bites.

Advertisement

“One of the hardest adjustments for patients is that they cannot drink liquids while eating,” says Dr. Cha. “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.”

Those who have had the surgery also take vitamins and supplements recommended by a nutritionist who counsels patients after the procedure. Your nutritionist may also recommend meal plans and a specialized diet after your surgery.

From weight loss to overall health benefits, talk to your doctor if you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery and how you can be on your way to a healthy lifestyle.

Related Articles

Two bariatric surgery options: grastric bypass and gastric sleeve
February 14, 2024
How To Know Which Type of Bariatric Surgery Is Right for You

Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are different procedures that offer similar benefits, including significant weight loss

Person eating healthy bowl of noodles with fitness items floating around head
January 17, 2024
How To Shed 10 Pounds — For Good!

Actively choose healthy habits not only when it comes to food and nutrition, but also physical activity and your mental health

male with beer belly on treadmill, with giant mug of beer next to
January 1, 2024
Does Beer Really Cause a ‘Beer Belly’?

Getting rid of excess abdominal fat will take more than just cutting back on cold ones

person in wheelchair lifting weights in gym
December 26, 2023
7 New Year’s Resolutions To Improve Your Heart Health

Resolve to move a little more, drink a little less, eat a little healthier, sleep a little better and destress a lot

close up of green coffee beans
December 14, 2023
Should You Go Green? What To Know About Green Coffee Bean Extract

There’s no evidence to prove this supplement can help with weight loss, and it may come with risks

clock with diet foods and water
November 14, 2023
The 10 Worst Ways To Lose Weight

Trying fad diets and skipping meals won’t do you any favors

Sad thin elderly adult looking out window.
November 7, 2023
Alzheimer’s Disease and Weight Loss: Why It Happens and What Can Be Done

Finding the causes of weight loss is key to treatment

Weight scale with arrow pointing to overweight is shown with sneakers and a water bottle in foreground.
September 10, 2023
Is It Healthy To Be ‘Fat and Fit’?

Having obesity brings long-term health risks no matter your fitness level

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture

Ad