Benefits and Risks of Weight Loss Surgery

When compared to the best nonsurgical management, bariatric surgery patients enjoy a significant survival advantage. Several large studies confirm 25% to 89% fewer deaths occur in the surgery group over a 5 – 25 year period of time. Most of the 35 (or more) diseases caused by or worsened by morbid obesity can be resolved or greatly improved if significant weight loss is maintained. Several diseases show frequent resolution as early as post op day number one.

The advantage is clear in people with a BMI greater than 35 who have associated medical problems or in all people with a BMI greater than 40. Recent articles also suggest that people with Type II Diabetes and a BMI between 30 and 35 have better overall outcomes with an operation versus those who do not have an operation.


Unfortunately, no operation is without complications. Death may occur. In the best centers across America, the mortality rate (death rate) is 0.3%, or 3 in 1000 operations. The WeightWise death rate since Dr. Broussard and Dr. Walton opened the doors in 2006 is 0%, (over 3000 operations). Major complications occur in approximately 1-2% of patients. To bring this into perspective, compare the mortality rate with other procedures:

  • LUNG RESECTION – 6% mortality
  • ESOPHAGEAL RESECTION – 9% mortality

The improved survival after bariatric surgery is primarily due to the improvements in two disease areas: cardiovascular (heart attacks, strokes, etc.) and cancer (decrease in breast, uterine, prostate, colon, stomach, esophagus, kidney and some types of lung cancer)

About 70% of people undergoing bariatric surgery can lose half of their excess weight and keep that weight off for 10 years. Although, 70% is not perfect, it should be compared to the 2-3% of people who have success by any other means available. Currently, operation is the only viable option for significant long lasting weight loss.

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