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What Are the Long-Term Outcomes of Bariatric Surgery?

August 20, 2014 | Uncategorized

Bariatric surgery is considered by many to be the most effective solution to obesity and many obesity-related medical conditions (co-morbidities). However, bariatric surgery is only a tool to make it easier to lose weight. Patients must make significant lifestyle changes — like eating small, healthy meals and exercising regularly — to lose weight and successfully keep it off.

What Is Considered a “Success?”

Obesity is a chronic disease. Therefore, treatment should demonstrate long-term success in order to be considered an effective solution.

Doctors consider a patient a success if they lose at least 50 percent of their excess weight and can sustain that weight loss up to five years. For example, a patient who is 100 pounds overweight, loses 50 pounds after surgery and maintains that weight loss for five years would be considered a success.

The key to bariatric surgery success is how long the patient is able to maintain the weight loss. It’s common to experience rapid weight loss right after surgery, stay very active and feel great. However, experts warn that weight loss can plateau two years after surgery, discouraging some patients and even causing them to revert to bad habits.

Research Shows Promising Outcomes

Though bariatric surgery has been performed for years, the amount of evidence for long-term efficacy is limited. Experts agree that more data on the long-term outcomes of weight loss surgery is needed.

However, there is some scientific data on long-term bariatric surgery. For example, a study published last year in the Annals of Surgery looked at the long-term outcomes of laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. The study found that patients maintained an average of 47.1-percent excess weight loss at 15 years.

Another exciting outcome of bariatric surgery is the improvement or resolution of type-2 diabetes. According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, patients undergoing bariatric surgery experienced more frequent diabetes remission and fewer complications than patients treated diabetes with medicine.

How to Handle Weight Bias

The high rates of obesity in our country have raised awareness of the medical consequences of this condition. However, the social and personal consequences are often ignored, according to Dr. Rebecca Puhl, the deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.

What Dr. Puhl is referring to is the bias, stigma and discrimination experienced by people struggling with obesity. This bias is especially prevalent in the workplace and at school, according to the Obesity Action Control.

An overweight employee may feel they are viewed as lazy, less competent or lacking in self-discipline by coworkers or employers. In addition, experimental studies show that overweight or obese job applicants are less likely to be hired than thinner applicants are — even if they are equally qualified for the job!

Students struggling with obesity may be bullied by their peers or bear the brunt of a negative attitude by teachers or administrators.

The Obesity Action Control offers a few suggestions for individuals struggling with weight bias or weight stigma, including:

  • educate others about the stigma of obesity
  • seek social support from individuals in a similar situation
  • practice positive self-talk methods
  • work with a therapist on coping strategies

How TLC Can Help

At Texas Laparoscopic Consultants, we understand how obesity can affect your physical and psychological well-being — which is why we offer surgical weight loss solutions. If you are interested in pursuing bariatric surgery and enjoying a happier, healthier life, we would be happy to share more information with you during a personal consultation. Please call us at (713) 264-8024 or send us an email today.

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