Especially among medical professionals, the discussion regarding the appropriateness of bariatric procedures is a heated one.
With strong proponents on either side of the argument, who’s right? Is bariatric surgery a healthy, valid way to lose weight, or a dangerous tool that fails to promote healthy behavioral change
While the jury’s out on the appropriateness of bariatric procedures, both sides continue to collect evidence, through research and studies assessing the nutritional status, quality of life, and lifespan for patients who have undergone bariatric procedures.
Thus far, research supports the idea that morbidly obese individuals who undergo bariatric procedures lengthen their lives.
A decade-long study published in the January 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association, found that obese individuals who had undergone bariatric surgery lived longer than obese adults who had not received a surgical weight loss procedure.
When comparing these two groups (comprised of 2,500 individuals), obese individuals who had not undergone weight loss surgery were 10% more likely to die in the decade following the study: the surgical group reduced their likelihood of death to 14%, while 24% of the non-surgical group died within the 10 years of the study’s inception.
A second, larger study comprised of 29,000 individuals and published in the March 2014 Journal of International Cardiology, found that bariatric procedures reduced the likelihood of heart attacks and related deaths by 40%, relative to a group of obese individuals who had not undergone a weight loss procedure.
Bariatric Surgery: The Pros and Cons
There are undoubtedly many factors to consider when assessing the pros and cons of weight-loss surgeries (bariatric procedures).
For many, the negative aspects of bariatric procedures simply pose too great a risk to warrant their use in common surgical practice. Whether through gastric banding or gastric bypass, weight loss surgeries are serious, invasive surgical procedures, and the possibility of infection and surgical complications is a very real one. Furthermore, the cost of these procedures is very high, and may not be covered by insurance.
Even when the costs and risk of bariatric procedures are accounted for, the fact remains that emotional and behavioral change is a requirement for a healthy recovery once the procedure has been performed. Most hospitals will not allow a patient to receive a bariatric procedure without first meeting with a team of psychologists and dietitians, who will assess the patient’s emotional readiness to undertake serious postoperative dietary and lifestyle changes.
Is bariatric surgery a good option for you?
Only your doctor and healthcare team can tell you whether or not you are a good candidate for a bariatric procedure. However, if you are morbidly obese and have a secondary condition because of your obesity (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), weight loss surgery may help reduce your risk of serious complications and death from those conditions.
If you decide to undergo bariatric surgery, Nashua Nutrition, offers bariatric products for pre- and post-surgery.