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Bariatric surgery is effective to lose weight

But you must evaluate the advantages and risks before submitting to it

The drastic and rapid reduction of weight in obese people and / or with conditions that worsen with overweight is the main advantage of a group of procedures that are grouped under the term of bariatric surgeries. But since they also have risks, it’s not a good idea to submit to them blindly. Find out about their advantages and disadvantages and if you are a good candidate for this type of surgery.  

For some people, losing weight is practically an impossible mission. Although they try all kinds of diets and exercises, they do not manage to lose the weight they need to reduce, and if they lose something, they recover it in a short time.

In the case of people suffering from severe obesity , the inability to lose weight increases the risks to their health, especially if they already suffer some other condition related to excess weight, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension or Sleep apnea.

For these people, bariatric surgery represents a solution that offers them the opportunity to improve their quality of life and even prolong it.

What is bariatric surgery?

Under this term several types of procedures and techniques are grouped, such as the adjustable gastric band, the gastric balloon , the gastric bypass (or gastric bypass), one of the most used procedures at present because it is one of the least complicated after Surgery). All of them aim to reduce the consumption of food and the accumulation of body fat. This is achieved in two ways: by decreasing the amount of food that is ingested (by reducing the size of the stomach) and in the case of the gastric bypass, modifying its absorption. In the case of gastric bypass, care must be taken, since not only the amount of calories is altered but also the absorption of some vital nutrients, such as vitamins.

About 200 thousand people undergo bariatric surgery in the United States only every year, but this option is not for everyone. The final decision is made by the surgeon after checking that the patient meets the necessary requirements.

Who are good candidates for bariatric surgery?

Anyone considering a procedure of this type must meet the following requirements:


  • Extreme obesity This is determined according to the body mass index (BMI), a measure of the height in relation to the weight of the person ( if you want to calculate yours, follow the indications on the subject that we already published in Life and Health ). The candidate’s BMI must be 40 or more, or 35 or more if the person suffers from any serious health condition related to obesity (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or obstructive sleep apnea), which may improve with a loss significant weight.
  • Has been obese at least for the past 3 to 5 years.
  • The adult is less than 65 years old.
  • The person has tried to lose weight through diet and minimal exercise for the past two years, without success.
  • The person is motivated to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle after the procedure.
  • You are not a smoker or have quit smoking.
  • You can take care of yourself and are able to follow the directions of your health professional.
  • Understand your treatment options, the chances of success and also the dangers associated with surgery


Like it or not, obesity levels in teenagers (even children) are getting higher. They are also potential candidates if they meet the following requirements:

  • They have extreme obesity (a BMI of 40 or more)
  • They have reached the height of an adult (usually at 13 years of age or older, for girls and 15 years or older, in boys)
  • They have serious health problems associated with being overweight, again, type 2 diabetes or obstructive sleep apnea

What benefits does this type of surgery offer?

Although each patient is different and much of the success depends on the type of diet and the amount of exercise performed after surgery, through rapid and considerable weight loss, those who undergo bariatric surgery could achieve the following benefits:

  • Improve or eliminate type 2 diabetes
  • Improve or eliminate hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Normalize the levels of low density cholesterol or LDL (the so-called bad cholesterol) and triglycerides and increase the levels of high density cholesterol (or the so-called good cholesterol)
  • In women, the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome  (a condition in which women have an elevated level of male hormones and increased risk of having irregular menstruations, infertility and diabetes) are reduced
  • In the case of men, it helps increase the production of testosterone

But beware! Not everything is rosy.

Despite what it means for obese patients to finally lose excess weight, the procedure is still a surgery, and as such, has its risks. The following are some of them:

  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Clots
  • Respiratory problems

But in addition, there are other longer-term risks after surgery that may vary according to the procedure used. Among these complications and potential risks are:

  • Intestinal obstruction, ulcers, gallstones (stones in the gallbladder) and hernias
  • Anemia or deficiencies of nutrients such as vitamin B, minerals such as iron and calcium and other substances such as folic acid
  • Excess of skin: the loss of a lot of weight causes the skin to lose elasticity and “hang” in folds that can be annoying and unsightly. The solution is the removal of excess skin through plastic surgery
  • “Dumping” syndrome that occurs when the patient eats a lot or consumes foods rich in sugar. Then the stomach “empties” the contents of the stomach quickly into the small intestine. This causes cold sweats, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and even fainting
  • Spleen injuries
  • Tissue erosion: when a foreign object is inserted with the surgery (bands or balloons), there is a risk that the object, with rubbing, causes the wear of adjacent healthy tissues. It can occur, for example, when the patient ingests an excessively abundant meal after surgery, or when a gastric band has become too tight.
  • Stomach perforation
  • Hypoglycemia

Now you know the advantages, risks and some of the requirements of bariatric surgery and you will have a better idea if it suits you or not. As not all obese people are candidates for this type of procedure, it is very important to talk with your doctor and the surgeon who will review your case and explain in detail the procedure you select. Undergoing bariatric surgery is an important decision that should not be taken lightly, since it involves drastic changes in the organism and in the future lifestyle of the patient so that the result is really positive. But, without a doubt, it can improve your quality of life and even avoid a fatal outcome. If you agree to follow a balanced diet , in the proportions indicated by the doctor, as well asan exercise program , you have a good chance of success in your favor. Get well informed and good luck with the decision!

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