Weight Loss Surgeries – What Are Your Options?

The world is changing constantly and with it comes many improvements but also challenges. Today, in 2018, obesity prevalence is the highest in human history. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than one-third of American adults are affected.

With the increase in obesity comes an increase in the number of weight loss surgery procedures. The phenomenon of obesity results in a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. Weight loss surgeries are an answer to this problem, but what are the risks and do the benefits outweigh these negative side effects?

Woman after weight loss surgery

Information About Weight Loss Surgery

There are seven main types of weight loss surgery most notably is a procedure known as bariatric surgery. This refers to a series of weight loss procedures that an obese individual can have in order to reduce their food intake, therefore causing them to lose weight.

The Bottom Line – Weight loss surgery is a serious life changing procedure which aids weight loss and promotes healthy eating habits.

The Different Types Of Weight Loss Surgery Available

There are 7 main types of weight loss surgery (also called “bariatric surgery”) available:

1. Gastric Sleeve

This surgery removes most of the stomach and leaves only a narrow section of the upper part of the stomach, called a gastric sleeve.

The surgery may also curb the hunger hormone ghrelin, so you eat less.

Based on our research, Gastric Sleeve surgery appears to have a survival rate of 99.8%.

2. Gastric Bypass

The surgeon leaves only a very small part of the stomach. This small part can’t hold a lot of food, so you eat less. The food you eat bypasses the rest of the stomach, going straight from the pouch to your small intestine.

This surgery can often be done through several small incisions using a camera to see inside (laparoscope). Doctors can also perform a mini-gastric bypass, which is a similar procedure also done through a laparoscope.

Based on our research, Gastric Bypass surgery appears to have a survival rate of 99.8%.

3. Duodenal Switch

This is complicated surgery that removes most of the stomach and uses a gastric sleeve to bypass most of your small intestine. It limits how much you can eat.

Based on our research, Duodenal Switch appears to have a survival rate of 92%.

4. LAP-BAND®

During surgery the Lap Band, is placed around the top portion of the stomach directly below the esophagus. A small port is inserted under the skin and fat and tubing is attached to the band. Food then sits above this area giving the patient a full feeling until the food slowly makes its way into the rest of the stomach where it goes through the normal digestion process.

Based on our research, LAP-BAND® appears to have a survival rate of 99%.

5. Gastric Balloon

A gastric balloon is a non-surgical, short term weight loss option that creates a feeling of fullness quicker after smaller meals. It reduces your hunger allowing you to control your portion sizes and can be used as a stepping stone on the path to weight loss success. Technically, a gastric balloon is a soft silicon balloon that is inserted into your stomach. The balloon partially fills the stomach which leads to a feeling of fullness.

Based on our research, Gastric Balloon appears to have a survival rate of 99%.

6. vBloc Therapy

vBloc an implanted device that controls hunger signals sent to the brain, it is reversible and adjustable.

Based on our research, vBloc Therapy appears to have a survival rate of 99%.

7. AspireAssist

The AspireAssist is a surgically implanted weight loss device that is used to empty about 33% of the contents of your stomach shortly after you eat.

Based on our research, AspireAssist appears to have a survival rate of 97-99%.

Weight Loss Surgery Health Benefits

Below is a list of the possible benefits we’ve found:

Weight Loss Surgery Can Cause Weight Loss (obviously)

Bariatric surgeries result in long-term weight-loss success. Most studies demonstrate that more than 90 percent of individuals previously affected by severe obesity are successful in maintaining 50 percent or more of their excess weight loss following bariatric surgery. Among those affected by super severe obesity, more than 80 percent are able to maintain more than 50 percent excess body weight loss. [1]

Weight Loss Surgery Can Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

Weight loss surgery decreases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral heart disease. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can return to normal or near normal after surgery, reducing these risks and improving overall well-being. [2]

Weight Loss Surgery Can Help Relieve Joint Pain

Carrying around excessive weight puts a lot of stress on your weight-bearing joints, often causing chronic pain and joint damage. The significant and sustained weight loss that occurs after bariatric surgery relieves the stress on joints and often allows people to stop using pain medications and enjoy much more mobility. [3]

Weight Loss Surgery Can Cause Long-term Remission For Type 2 Diabetes

A recent Cleveland Clinic study suggests that bariatric surgery causes long-term remission of difficult-to-control type 2 diabetes. The results of this study show the procedure is highly effective for obese patients with type 2 diabetes, allowing almost all patients to remain free of insulin and adjunct medications for at least three years post-surgery. [4]

Weight Loss Surgery Can Improve Longevity

Obesity appears to be associated with a higher mortality, mostly from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Recent research from the University of Cincinnati and a research institute in Seattle shows bariatric surgery improves life expectancy in most obese patients in comparison to obese patients who do not have surgery. However, one study suggests a small subset of very obese, diabetic patients may not see increased life expectancy after surgery. [5]

Weight Loss Surgery Can Improve Your Metabolism

As you lose more weight, you will find yourself participating in more physical activity, such as biking, walking and swimming, which improves the body’s ability to burn fat efficiently. Hormones like insulin and cortisol (stress hormone) are also reduced, which helps lower the body’s storage of fat.

Weight Loss Surgery Can Improve Your Quality of Life

Post bariatric patients experience decreased depression and better emotional health. They have enhanced sense of wellbeing. They report higher energy levels and lead a more active life.

The Bottom Line – Bariatric surgery is associated with massive weight-loss and improves, or even resolves (cures), obesity-related co-morbidities for the majority of patients. These co-morbidities include high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma and other obesity-related breathing disorders, arthritis, lipid (cholesterol) abnormalities, gastroesophageal reflux disease, fatty liver disease, venous stasis, urinary stress incontinence, pseudotumor cerebri, and more.

Weight Loss Surgery Risks & Side Effects

As with most surgeries, there are risks and side effects. While most people don’t experience any complications after undergoing a weight loss procedure, there still is risk involved.

To help you better understand the risks and potential side effects, we’re listed each weight loss procedure below with the relevant information:

Gastric Sleeve Risks, Complications & Side Effects

The following side effects could potentially be:

  • Staple line leaks
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Stenosis/strictures
  • Digestion issues
  • Sagging skin from rapid weight loss
  • Severe Stomach discomfort

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

Gastric Bypass Risks, Complications & Side Effects

The following side effects could potentially be:

  • Staple line leaks
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Stenosis/strictures
  • Severe Stomach discomfort

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

Duodenal Switch Risks, Complications & Side Effects

The following side effects could potentially be:

  • Bleeding, sometimes requiring a blood Transfusion
  • Blood clots
  • Pulmonary Emboli
  • Infection
  • Abscesses
  • Bowel Obstruction
  • A leaking of the small bowel, Duodenum or Stomach

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

LAP-BAND® Risks, Complications & Side Effects

The following side effects could potentially be:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Blating
  • Swallowing issues
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

Gastric Balloon Risks, Complications & Side Effects

The following side effects could potentially be:

  • Gastric discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Strange sensation in your abdomen
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Back pain
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux (where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach)
  • Indigestion

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

vBloc Therapy Risks, Complications & Side Effects

The following side effects could potentially be:

  • Abdominal Pain or Cramping
  • Belching
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

AspireAssist Risks, Complications & Side Effects

The following side effects could potentially be:

  • Skin irritation
  • Infection
  • Abdominal pain

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

Is Weight Loss Surgery Safe?

For the most part having weight loss surgery is safe, however as we have already established, there is always risk involved – often the patient should evaluate the risk vs. reward (your doctor will be able to advise you).

Serious side effects can include bleeding, infection, leaks from the places where your stitches are, and blood clots in the legs that can move to the heart and lungs. Most people don’t get any of these.

Recovery time from the procedures above typically varies from patient to patient. But it could take months for a patient to resume their normal daily activities following surgery, and many will have to follow a liquid diet and introduce normal foods slowly.

Has Weight Loss Surgery Been Linked To Any Deaths?

As with most surgical procedures, there have been fatalities, however it is by no means a regular occurrence.

Whether these interventions are in the form of bariatric surgery or more traditional non-surgery methods, one thing is clear – individuals who are obese need to talk to their doctors about their treatment options and be clear of the risks associated with them. Often the risk of remaining morbidly obese is a higher threat than undergoing the surgery.

Conclusion

In addition to improvements in health and longevity, surgical weight-loss improves overall quality of life. Measures of quality of life that are positively affected by bariatric surgery include physical functions such as mobility, self-esteem, work, social interactions, and sexual function. Furthermore, depression and anxiety are significantly reduced following bariatric surgery.