If you are obese and you have tried dieting and exercising to lose weight with limited success, then bariatric surgery may be a great option for you. Before you consider bariatric surgery you should become knowledgeable about the surgical procedure, its side-effects, and potential serious complications, as well as the impact that the surgery may have on your lifestyle and relationships. Your doctor may likely tell you that bariatric surgery is not the magic remedy for obesity and its related health conditions. Instead, you should view bariatric surgery as a component of your weight loss regimen along with healthy lifestyle changes, including exercise and dietary changes.
You may wonder whether there is an appropriate age range to determine eligibility for bariatric surgery. In fact, there is no strict rule regarding the appropriate age for the surgery. However, as with most surgeries, doctors believe that the risks associated with the surgery is too high beyond the age of 65 years old. On the end of the spectrum, there is conflicting evidence regarding the benefits of the procedure in people younger than 18 years old. What is becoming increasingly clear is the improvements in the quality of life for most people following bariatric surgery. Previous studies have shown that profound weight loss, in combination with psychological treatment and the absence of related medical conditions, predict superior quality of life and self-reported functional status.
Comparison of the Risks Associated with Obesity versus Bariatric Surgery
Obese people are at an increased risk for medical conditions that are related to excess body fat. These conditions include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, asthma, and heart disease. While it is clear that reducing body fat can decrease the risk of developing some of these medical conditions, bariatric surgery for the treatment of obesity is associated with its own set of risks and complications. For example, there is a risk of infection at the incision sites and in some cases the staples may come loose, which would necessitate additional surgeries. Since bariatric surgery disrupts the process of digestion and the uptake of some vitamins and nutrients, many patients develop anemia due to an iron deficiency and some patients develop gall stones.
Comparison of Bariatric Surgery and Non-invasive Treatment Options
Bariatric surgery is both a cost-effective and clinically effective procedure to decrease body fat in obese patients. In comparison to bariatric surgery, non-invasive treatment options eliminate the need for large abdominal incisions, bowel manipulation and extensive dissection, which means that patients usually have less scarring, they recover in less time and they can be discharged from the hospital sooner. Two of the more common non-invasive treatment options are Gastric ballooning and StomaphyX. Gastric ballooning simply involves the placement of a deflated balloon into the stomach via the esophagus, and once inside the stomach it is inflated with air or saline. StomaphyX is used to reduce the volume of the stomach pouch in people that have experienced stomach stretching after having bariatric surgery.