Benefits of surgical weight loss
Morbid obesity comes with problems, or co-morbidities, which affect most of the organs in the body. The remarkable and wonderful fact is that most of these problems can be greatly improved, or will entirely resolve, with successful weight loss. Most people have actually observed this, at least for short periods, after a weight loss by dieting. Unfortunately, with dieting, such benefits usually do not last, because diets don’t last.
We have shown that the weight loss achieved with gastric bypass and gastric sleeve can average 80% of excess body weight, and can be maintained for years following surgery. We instruct patients in a very simple program, which is much easier to follow when one is not constantly starving on a diet.
Weight Loss Results after Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
- High Blood Pressure
At least 70% of patients who have high blood pressure, and who are taking medications to control it, are able to stop all medications and have a normal blood pressure, usually within 2–3 months after surgery. When medications are still required, their dosage can be lowered, with reduction of side effects.
- High Blood Cholesterol
Over 80% of patients will develop normal cholesterol levels within 2–3 months after operation.
- Heart Disease
Although we can't say definitively that heart disease is reduced, the improvement in problems such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes certainly suggests that improvement in risk is very likely.
- Diabetes Mellitus
Over 90% of Type II diabetics obtain excellent results, usually within a few days after surgery: normal blood sugar levels, normal Hemoglobin A1C values, and freedom from all their medications, including insulin injections. Based upon numerous studies of diabetes and the control of its complications, it is likely that the problems associated with diabetes will be arrested in their progression when blood sugar is maintained at normal values. There is no medical treatment for diabetes that can achieve as complete and profound an effect as surgery - which has led some physicians to suggest that surgery may be the best treatment for diabetes, in the seriously obese patient.
Abnormal glucose tolerance or "borderline diabetes" is even more reliably reversed by Gastric Bypass. Since this condition becomes diabetes in many cases, the operation can frequently prevent diabetes as well.
Most asthmatics find that they have fewer and less severe attacks, or sometimes none at all. When asthma is associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, it is particularly benefited by gastric bypass.
- Respiratory Insufficiency
Improvement of exercise tolerance and breathing ability usually occurs within the first few months after surgery. Often, patients who have barely been able to walk find that they are able to participate in family activities, even sports activities.
- Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Dramatic relief of sleep apnea occurs as our patients lose weight. Many report that within a year of surgery, their symptoms were completely gone, and they had even stopped snoring completely – and their spouses agree.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Relief of all symptoms of reflux usually occurs within a few days of surgery, for nearly all patients.
- Gallbladder Disease
When gallbladder disease is present at the time of the surgery, it is "cured" by removing the gallbladder during the operation. If the gallbladder is not removed, there is some increase in risk of developing gallstones after the surgery is performed, and occasionally, removal of the gallbladder may be necessary at a later time.
- Stress Urinary Incontinence
This condition responds dramatically to weight loss, usually by becoming completely controlled. A person who is still troubled by incontinence can choose to have specific corrective surgery later, with much greater chance of a successful outcome with a reduced body weight.
- Low Back Pain and Degenerative Disk Disease, and Degenerative Joint Disease.
Patients usually experience considerable relief of pain and disability from degenerative arthritis and disk disease, and from pain in the weight-bearing joints. This tends to occur early, with the first 25-30 pounds lost, usually within about a month after surgery. Of course, if there is nerve irritation or structural damage already present, it may not be reversed by weight loss, and some pain symptoms can persist.