Bariatric Surgery Can Be a Life Saving Procedure

Is bariatric surgery effective for reducing mortality? Well, according to two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, weight loss following bariatric surgery can reduce mortality as much as 40% in the decade following the procedure. A third additional study has found that weight loss surgery can reduce the incidence of heart attack, stroke, or death by as much as 50 percent. As rising numbers of Americans battle obesity, the demand for bariatric procedures keeps rising.

The first study was performed by medical researchers at the University of Utah and examined data collected from 16,000 morbidly obese individuals. Roughly half of the participants had opted for the surgery between 1984 and 2002. The outcome of the study revealed that patients who had undergone surgery were 40% less likely to die from any cause during a seven year follow up period. In addition, surgery patients were 92% less likely to die from diabetes, 60% less likely to die from cancer, and 59% less likely to die from coronary artery disease.

The second study performed by Gothenburg University in Sweden, involved 4,000 obese participants with half undergoing conventional obesity treatment and the other half opting for a type of bariatric surgery. In the ten year follow up after the treatment, the group that had undergone bariatric surgery had achieved more weight loss and reduced their risk of death by 24% compared to the conventional treatment group.

The third study, performed by Greenville Hospital System (GHS) University Medical Center, involved the review of over 9,000 severely obese patients between the ages of 40 and 79 who had undergone bariatric, orthopedic, or GI surgery in South Caroline between 1996 and 2008. The orthopedic and GI surgery patients served as control groups because they matched up with health and risk profiles. Five years following the bariatric surgery, the incidence of heart attack decreased by about 50 percent; stroke risk dropped 30 to 50 percent less when compared with the two  control groups. The risk of death was also determined to be within the estimated range of 20 to 55 percent lower in the bariatric surgery group after compared with the other control groups.

Over 220,000 patients have undergone treatment in 2008 and the numbers continue to rise steadily. The obesity epidemic in America is on the rise and shows no signs of decline. As bariatric surgery techniques become more advanced and less invasive, it is highly probable that it will continue to become popular treatment choice for morbidly obese individuals.


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