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More Than Cosmetic, Gastric Bypass Surgery Saves Lives

Gastric bypass is a controversial surgery. Star Jones kept her surgery secret, revealing it only recently.

Regardless of how you feel about the procedure a new study indicates that it is saving lives. Research published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine found severely obese patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery significantly reduced their risk of death from coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This study corroborates evidence from a similar Swedish study.

Both studies found that obese people who underwent drastic surgery had a 30 percent to 40 percent lower risk of dying seven to 10 years later compared with those who did not have such operations. Evidence like this dispels the notion that gastric bypass is a "vanity" procedure since it can be seen as saving lives.

Surprisingly, the surgery group had a higher risk of death from accidents, suicides and other causes not related to disease. Although this puzzles researchers a bit, they believe this outcome might be due to unrecognized pre-surgical mood disorders or post-traumatic stress disorders, which appear to be more common in severely obese patients.

Current guidelines, in the U.S. recommend that gastric bypass surgery be considered only after traditional weight loss methods have failed. Candidates considering the operation must be at least 100 pounds overweight with a BMI over 40, or have a BMI over 35 in conjunction with an obesity-related medical condition such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

Join The Conversation
tralalala tralalala 10 years
I think as an absolute last resort, gastric bypass is a good thing. I'm worried that so many people are getting it now, it seems like kind of a cop out. If you can't make healthy lifestyle choices before sugery, what makes you think you can after?
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 10 years
My ex-husband had this surgery. The whole process going into it was really interesting. In order to get the surgery he had to go to multiple Dr's visits, counseling sessions, nutritionist sessions, and sleep studies. He also had to lose an additional 10 pounds before the Dr agreed to do it. After the surgery, he lost around 100 lbs because of the malabsorbtion and extra exercise. After the surgery, he stopped going to the counseling sesssions. He changed his eating habits after about a year and started eating sugar, larger portions, and alcohol. He ignored the "uncomfortable" feeling of his stomach telling him he ate too much. Even though he would go into an "episode" similar to diabetic shock from eating sugar, he would eat *more* sugar to regulate his blood sugar again. It was a mess. He only recently recognized the error of his ways and has gotten back on the plan. I have mixed feelings now about gastric bypass surgery. At first I supported it because he really wanted to do this. Now, after watching him going through this and talking to other people who have had the surgery, I think that Dr's need to regulate who gets this surgery a little more. A lot of people use it to lose weight and not have to eat healthily. Also, people don't take the time to really investigate how they got to be overweight in the first place and face down those demons. I truly believe that those demons then translate into other addictions and even lower self esteem (I also blame his weight loss on why we got divorced but that's another story). Fortunately most insurance companies do not 100% cover the surgery anymore and the cost comes mostly out of pocket. I could say more but I think I'll end here...
lindaloo lindaloo 10 years
They have to change the way they eat or they will stretch out their stomachs and gain the weight back. It's happened to a lot of people.
misstsapinay misstsapinay 10 years
LOL, I agree, workofiction :) I'm just curious...Patients who get gastric bypass - Are they really making a life change with their eating/exercise lifestyle? Isn't surgery just the easy way out? I know a few people who have had the surgery, and though the did lose a significant amount of weight, their eating habits haven't changed much. They still eat junk, and they refuse to lose the extra 50-60 lbs. themselves by diet and exercise because they feel that the weight that they reached from the surgery (about 240 lbs.) is good enough for them. Though they had the surgery they're still overweight. As someone who has lost weight by diet and exercise, without surgery, my lifestyle has changed. I've changed my whole relationship with food, and I will not allow for myself to get back to where I was.
workofiction workofiction 10 years
Is it just me or does her head look too big for her body? I've seen the same thing looking at Amy Winehouse and Nicole Richie, pre-preggers.
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