In addition to the obvious health benefits, there are potential psychological and social benefits associated with weight loss surgery. For most people there are two key issues that influence the decision making process to undergo weight loss surgery: 1) the potential health benefits and 2) the potential benefits for quality of life.
Health Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
According to a recent study conducted by researchers from Arizona State University, patients were motivated to have weight loss surgery for various reasons, including to reduce their risk for health problems, to improve their physical appearance, to boost their self-confidence, and to overcome the stigma associated with obesity. In the study, approximately 200 patients ranging in ages from 26 to 73 years old were questioned about their health condition, their satisfaction with the surgery results, and self-esteem, as well as changes to their family and social lives, and their work and their physical activity since the surgery. As expected the patients lost a significant amount of weight — an average of 95 pounds each — and they experienced significant improvements of their chronic health conditions. The study confirmed previous research that demonstrated improvements in physical health following weight loss surgery, particularly the resolution of diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea, as well as a reduction of cholesterol levels. Along with the health benefits that were associated with weight loss surgery, the study participants also reported enhancements in mobility.
Social Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
People can be judgmental and harsh towards overweight people, and overweight people tend to suffer from depression and to feel unfulfilled in their relationships and social life. The findings of the study supported the notion that losing weight via weight loss surgery improves relationship and social satisfaction. The study participants gained satisfaction from losing weight. In fact, following the surgery the study participants reported decreased depression and a more fulfilling relationship with family, friends, and partners. What was most interesting was the fact that although study participants were generally satisfied with their weight loss, they were not as happy about their physical appearance as one might have expected. This was likely related to body image issues that arose due to their extreme weight loss. In some cases, the patients had loose, hanging skin and they were not as satisfied with their reflection in the mirror. According to this study the benefits of weight loss surgery go beyond improvements in overall health, but also include the social and psychological benefits of weight loss. Despite the fact the people may not be completely satisfied with their overall appearance, they are happy with their health and social/familial relationships.