Weight loss surgery is something of a hot-button topic, and as body positive activists we’re not always 100% supportive of it. However, millions of people each year opt for surgically altering their bodies so that they cannot physically eat as much food in an effort to lose weight. If this is something you are considering it’s important to get the facts. First and foremost speak with your doctor, as they’re the best ones to give you sound and relevant advice.
Weight loss surgery is not a decision one makes lightly, and knowing all the facts beforehand – including the costs and benefits – is vital. While weight loss is the primary goal, we looked at what other health benefits weight loss surgery may result in.
1. Diabetes prevention and treatment
Unfortunately for those that suffer from Type 2 diabetes, there is no cure however, weight loss surgery has been shown to be highly effective at putting it into remission. A study carried out by Dr. Anita P. Courcoulas of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, revealed that weight-loss surgery combined with low-level lifestyle interventions to be an effective treatment strategy for obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
The study revealed that many of the participants who underwent weight-loss surgery followed by lifestyle interventions experienced partial or complete Type 2 diabetes remission, while those who engaged in lifestyle interventions alone experienced no remission at all. In fact, weight loss surgery is also suspected of helping to prevent diabetes in at-risk individuals.
2. Improved liver function
A 2015 study published in Science Daily by the American Gastroenterological Association showed that the symptoms of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) reduced significantly after participants went through bariatric surgery as well as lifestyle modification. NASH is a disease characterised by fat in the liver and is most common in patients who are middle-aged and overweight.
Guillaume Lassailly’s Gastroenterology study reported that one year after bariatric surgery, NASH has disappeared from 85% of patients and reduced pathologic features of the disease after one year of follow-up appointments. NASH also disappeared from a higher proportion of patients with mild NASH before surgery (94%) than severe NASH (70%). More studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of bariatric surgery in morbidly or severely obese patients with NASH.
3. Reduction of hypertension
A study was recently published by Dr. Keidar of the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel. It revealed that in addition to significant reductions in diabetes, patients who had bariatric surgery also saw significant reductions in hypertension. The study followed 443 patients for 5 years after they had gastric sleeve surgery. 45-48% of these saw hypertension disappear completely during that time.
4. Improved Gut Health
Patients who underwent weight loss surgery and lifestyle modifications commonly saw an improvement in microbiomes in the gut. According to a study discussed in Science Daily, two types of bariatric surgeries (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and vertical banded gastroplasty) have been shown to result in similar changes in microbiome remodelling.
These changes were maintained a decade later in a group of women, and transfer of the microbiota from the bariatric surgery patients was shown to decrease fat mass and increase carbohydrate use in mice. In fact, the study also shows that the microbiome changes were specific to those that had the surgery, and not just a result of reduced BMI.
Considering weight loss surgery?
If you have any questions, or would like to share your weight loss surgery story, we’d love to hear from you.