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Bariatric Surgery: Extreme Measures for Extreme Results

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Bariatric Surgery: Extreme Measures for Extreme Results

In the past, bariatric surgery was extremely rare and done only in the most life-threatening cases for patients who were morbidly obese. But with time, practice, and the emergence of positive statistics about the success rate of the procedure, more and more chronically obese people are choosing to have this type of procedure. At present, bariatric surgery is done more frequently than any other type of non-cosmetic elective surgery. 

Why is bariatric surgery so popular?  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients who are morbidly obese are most likely to sustain their weight loss after undergoing bariatric surgery.

Research done on patients who have opted for bariatric surgery shows that it poses better, safer prospects for long-term weight loss than for any other type of treatment used to help people who are categorized as morbidly obese. In addition, bariatric surgery patients have shown significant improvements in other health conditions, including diabetes, sleep disorders, heart problems, and more.

That said, one of the greatest benefits of the surgery is that patients are maintaining a much healthier weight and have demonstrated the likelihood of staying at a lower weight for years to come.

The classification of morbidly obese is defined as being 100 pounds overweight, or having a body mass index (BMI) of 39 or more. About six million Americans are morbidly obese, a condition that is also called clinically severe obesity. These people face life-threatening health problems if they don’t get some form of treatment.

In some cases, people with a BMI or 40 are not considered good candidates for bariatric surgery. Other people are ruled out for the surgery for various reasons related to their psychological health, and some people are refused because there is some doubt of their ability to make the lifestyle changes necessary for maintaining a lower weight.

For example, people who love to eat sweets or junk food, and have no intention of sacrificing them following surgery, aren’t going to see the kind of improvement they had envisioned.

Bariatric surgery has shown to be safer than the commonly performed heart bypass operations, showing a rate of complications at less than 2 percent, and a mortality rate of less than one-half of 1 percent.  

Given the general state of health of the people who have this type of surgery, this rate of post-operative complications is especially low.

New techniques are constantly developed to improve the safety and effectiveness of bariatric surgery, and to lessen some of the side effects. As a result, health experts fear that people will come to view this type of surgery as a magic band-aid for the morbidly obese.

In fact, surgery is always a serious matter and should be seen as such by both patients and doctors. Fortunately, the majority of bariatric surgeons will refuse to treat patients who have not already tried other more traditional weight loss plans, albeit unsuccessfully.

Prior to bariatric surgery, a patient must make efforts to lose weight and should be thoroughly informed about the type of surgery they are having; they also must demonstrate an understanding of the work that will be necessary to maintain a healthy weight following the surgery. 

Patients who clearly have the required determination are likely to see excellent returns. Losing extreme amounts of weight can lengthen the lifespan and give a patient better stamina, greater self-esteem, and improved social interactions. Overall, the quality of life for these surgical patients will be drastically improved for the long-term.