President's Prescription: Is weight loss surgery worth the risk?

President's Prescription: Is weight loss surgery worth the risk?
Updated: Apr. 27, 2015 at 8:14 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - For many obese patients, losing weight can seem really problematic. For them, even the prospect of losing weight can be really daunting. But it's important for them to understand, that if they don't lose weight, there can be some serious health consequences. For them, gastric bypass surgery becomes a real option.

The most common form of weight loss bariatric surgery is gastric bypass, a combination of reducing the size of the stomach and re-routing part of the small intestine so that patients eat less and fewer calories are absorbed. While patients who undergo this surgery do lose weight, there are a number of complications that can occur, and those considering this procedure should weigh the risks with the benefits.

The risks include possible infection, bowel and gall bladder troubles, malnutrition and, though unlikely, even death. Additionally, surgery is not a magic wand, and will not reverse obesity on its own. Without continued dedication to a proper diet and exercise, it's even possible to gain weight after surgery.

A benefit is that there is no doubt that gastric bypass is an effective tool for many to lose weight. And, since 55 percent of diabetics are also obese, the surgery's potential for reversing type 2 diabetes is noteworthy, especially since the risk of diabetes mortality is significantly reduces following gastric bypass, in particular.

So if you are not able to lose weight despite of exercise and diet, talk to your doctor. There may be options you haven't considered trying, including gastric bypass surgery.