New study finds that weight loss surgery prolongs life

By Ayotunde Adeyeri M.D.

A new study recently reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that weight loss surgery appears to prolong life for severely obese adults.Among 2,500 obese adults who underwent bariatric surgery, the death rate was about 14 percent after 10 years compared with almost 24 percent for obese patients who didn’t have weight-loss surgery, researchers found.

Recent surgical improvements should ensure even better results, since more than 90 percent of weight-loss surgery today is done with minimally invasive procedures that use smaller incisions and result in fewer complications. “Patients with severe obesity can have greater confidence that bariatric surgical procedures are associated with better long-term survival than not having surgery,” said Lead Study Author Dr. David Arterburn, associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington.

Earlier studies have shown better survival among younger obese women who had weight-loss surgery, but this study confirms this finding even in older men and women who suffer from other health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Bariatric surgery reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, which may be the main ways that bariatric surgery prolongs life.

Patients who have bariatric surgery usually see their diabetes disappear. Shedding excess weight also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduces the odds of developing heart disease. If you are obese and unable to lose weight on your own, bariatric surgery should be considered.

Most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover bariatric surgery. It is important to find an experienced, board certified bariatric surgeon when considering weight loss surgery.Also, pre and post-surgical support will help to improve your weight loss success.

Dr.Ayotunde Adeyeri is a board-certified and fellowship-trained laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgeon and serves as medical director of the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay Medical Center. The Institute provides individualized medical and surgical solutions and support for individuals seeking weight loss, including nutrition and lifestyle counseling. For more information or to attend a free bariatric surgery seminar, call 855.TIME.4.ME.