Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery can be an option for people with severe obesity, typically with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 with weight-related medical problems, or 40 without, and who have found it difficult to achieve long-term, sustained weight loss through diet and exercise.
In simple terms, bariatric surgery helps achieve significant weight loss by reducing your stomach’s capacity, suppressing your appetite, and limiting the amount of food you can eat before feeling full.
There are several types of weight loss surgery including gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and other non-surgical endoscopic procedures including endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty and intragastric balloon procedures.
Your physician will be able to assess if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, and recommend which surgery option would work best for you.
Other benefits to health
Significant weight loss is usually experienced quickly after surgery, and can continue for the next 18 months to two years. With a much smaller stomach, patients gradually get used to their new eating habits – smaller portions, eating more slowly and taking very small bites.
However, although the most visible change is a slimmer physique, there are important positive medical outcomes of bariatric surgery. There are a number of health benefits that can occur with sustained weight loss, and maintaining a healthy weight post-surgery, including improvement in or remission of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and chronic joint pain.
- Remission of Type 2 diabetes: Bariatric surgery can directly affect how the body uses insulin, and can eradicate the need for insulin and medications used to treat Type 2 diabetes.
- Improvement of cardiovascular health: Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can normalize post-surgery, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke.
- Promotion of better sleep: Being overweight or obese can often cause sleep apnea, losing excess weight can help restore a more peaceful night’s sleep.
- Relief of joint pain and improved mobility: Carrying less weight means that there is less stress on your body’s joints, reducing pain and allowing more mobility to enjoy an active lifestyle.
While bariatric surgery is proven to be a highly effective option in weight reduction, it should not be considered as the easy route to achieving weight loss. It is an ongoing process which goes beyond the surgery itself, and involves a lifelong commitment to substantial lifestyle changes to experience long-term health benefits.
Try our BMI calculator tool to check whether you are in a healthy weight range for your height.