Weight loss surgery is an effective way to lose weight and keep it off.
Surgery is more effective than conventional approaches, like diet and exercise, and research shows that on average, it produces a total weight loss of about 16%, sustained out to 7 years.
Some weight loss surgeries also help resolve conditions associated with obesity, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea and hyperlipidaemia (high levels of fats in the blood).
Here are some points it’s useful to know about the different types of surgery:
- Adjustable gastric banding, while effective, produces slower weight loss compared to other forms of surgery and is decreasing in popularity worldwide.
- For people with a very high BMI, a malabsorptive procedure results in greater weight loss than a restrictive procedure.
- Compared to diet and exercise, weight loss surgery results in increased life expectancy in people who are morbidly obese.
- Recent studies have shown that bariatric surgery reduces the risk of death by nearly 50% and increases life expectancy by 6 years. These benefits are even greater for people with type 2 diabetes.
Surgery and conventional weight loss treatments both carry risks.
Some conventional weight loss diets can cause nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, weakness, fatigue, nausea, headaches and constipation.
With surgery, you need to consider the opportunity for increased health-related quality of life vs the risks of complications and possible further surgery.
General anaesthesia is riskier for people with a high BMI and/or diabetes.
Risks and complications of the surgery itself vary depending on the type of procedure you have.