What are the benefits of weight-loss surgery?

A majority of patients lose 50 to 80% of the excess weight during the 18-24 months after surgery. However, the effects on blood sugar are immediate (within days) after surgery. People who have this surgery are able to reduce or eliminate diabetes medications.

In particular, Roux-en-Y surgery is effective at diabetes control. About 33% of these patients do not need diabetes drugs after surgery. Within 2 years of surgery, a total of 85% of patients do not require medication. Their diabetes is in remission.

Complete resolution of diabetes is more common among people who have a form of diabetes that does not require medication and who have had diabetes less than five years. Resolution is also more common among people who have more weight loss after surgery. The benefits extend to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These factors, which increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks, are also improved and/or resolved after surgery.

What are the risks of weight-loss surgery?

Risks associated with these surgeries may include:

  • Poor response to anesthesia.
  • Damage to nearby organs during surgery.
  • Bleeding.
  • Blood clot formation.
  • Infection.
  • Peritonitis, or inflammation in the peritoneum, the tissue that covers and supports the organs in the abdomen.

Other risks may include:

  • Blockages in the intestine.
  • Development of gallstones and kidney stones.
  • Narrowing of the connection between the stomach and the intestine, also called anastomotic stenosis.
  • Dumping syndrome (early and late): nausea, stomach pain and vomiting after eating.
  • Malnutrition.

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