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Many morbidly obese patients have comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea.
Many of them are afraid of surgery (or anesthesia) and that they will just “give it another go” with diet and lifestyle modifications. Unfortunately, dietary or medical therapies for severe obesity (BMI >40) are usually ineffective in the long term. The disease of obesity is not benign and it has become the top cause of preventable death. In USA obesity alone is the cause of 20% of deaths in women and 15% of those in men.
Thanks to improved patient-care protocols and the laparoscopic approach, mortality rates after bariatric surgery have fallen by 80% in the past decade. Data involving nearly 60,000 bariatric patients from American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Bariatric Centers of Excellence database show that the risk of death within the 30 days following bariatric surgery averages 0.13%, or approximately one out of 1,000 patients. This rate is considerably less than most other commonly performed operations, including gallbladder (0.7%) and hip replacement surgery (0.93%). The data shows that the chance of dying from bariatric surgery is exceptionally low and it is safer than gallbladder and hip replacement surgery.
For patients with morbid obesity, large studies find that the risk of death from any cause is much less for bariatric patients over the long term than for those who have never had the surgery. The data show up to an 89 percent reduction in overall mortality. There is also significant decrease in mortality rates due to specific diseases such as cancer (60% reduction), diabetes (90% reduction) and heart disease (50% reduction). Many other studies also found improvement or resolution of life-threatening obesity-related diseases following bariatric surgery. The benefits of bariatric surgery far outweigh the risks. Over the long term, not having bariatric surgery is more dangerous than having surgery for morbid obese patients.
Making decision to have bariatric surgery is a major undertaking. We encourage all patients to discuss the decision with your surgeon, family members and loved ones.
For a physician referral, please call (800) UCLA-MD1 (825-2631).
*Weight loss results can vary depending on the individual. There is no guarantee of specific results. Read full disclaimer.