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Why Bariatric Surgery?

Nearly 15 million people in the U.S. are morbidly obese. And as part of our commitment to transforming healthcare, the Center for Surgical Weight Management at Gwinnett Medical Center–Duluth is dedicated to helping to solve this medical condition. We want to do everything we can to help as many members of our community as possible beat this life-threatening disease for good.

While exercise and eating right are the best ways to lose weight, we know this doesn’t always work for individuals who are morbidly obese. In fact, this method is less than 5% successful for morbidly obese individuals. This is why bariatric surgery exists—to provide a safe, successful long-term way to help individuals lose weight and regain their health and overall quality of life.

The risks and rewards
As with any surgery, there are always risks. The risks for bariatric surgery are low. In the past few years, the safety of bariatric surgery has made rapid progress. In fact, studies show that bariatric procedures are as safe as any medical procedure available.

While complications can occur, the rate is less than 1%. Even the risk of death from bariatric surgery is extremely low at about 0.36%.

With these small risks come great rewards from this life-changing surgery. Bariatric surgery can improve or resolve more than 30 obesity-related conditions, including:

  • Lifespan (compared to those who do not have bariatric surgery)
    • Patients may improve life expectancy by 89%1
  • Risk of death from:2
    • Diabetes—down 92%
    • Cancer—down 60%
    • Coronary artery disease—down 56%
  • Type 2 diabetes resolution in:
    • 87% of gastric bypass patients3
    • 73% of lap-band surgery patients4
  • The risk of developing coronary heart disease, which is in half3
  • Obstructive sleep apnea in more than 85% of patients5
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Arthritis

The long-term positive effects
With counseling, support group attendance, exercise, a healthy diet and dedication to other physician-prescribed changes, patients will see remarkable changes in their lives and health. Typically, patients have maximum weight loss within one to two years after surgery and maintain a substantial weight loss, with improvements in obesity-related conditions, for years afterward.

Other successful measures include:

  • Loss of 30% to 50% of excess weight six months after surgery6
  • Loss of 77% of excess weight as early as 12 months after surgery6

Long-term studies show that up to 10–14 years after surgery, patients maintained:7,8

  • A successful level of weight loss
  • More favorable levels of:
    • Blood glucose
    • Cholesterol
    • Hypertension

For more information, please call 678-312-6200, or complete the online form and someone will contact you.

1Christou, N.V., et al. Surgery Decreases Long-term Mortality, Morbidity, and Health Care Use in Morbidly Obese Patients. Annals of Surgery. 2004;240: 416–424.

2Inge, T.H., Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Improvements in Cardiovascular Risk Factors After Surgical Weight Loss in Adolescents. Pediatrics. 2009; 123(1):214–222.

3Buchwald, H., et al. Weight and Type 2 Diabetes after Bariatric Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. American Journal of Medicine. 2009; 122(3): 205–206.

4Dixon, J.B., et al. Adjustable Gastric Banding and Conventional Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008; 299(3): 316–323.

5Torquati, A., et al. Effect of Gastric Bypass Operation on Framingham and Actual Risk of Cardiovascular Events in Class II to III Obesity. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2007; 204(5).

6Wittgrove, A.C., et al. Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, Roux-en-Y: Technique and Results in 75 Patients With 3–30 Months Follow-up. Obesity Surgery. 1996; 6: 500–504.

7Pories, W.J., et al. Who Would Have Thought It: An Operation Proves to Be the Most Effective Therapy for Adult-Onset Diabetes Mellitus. Annals of Surgery. 1995; 222(3): 339–352.

8Sjöström, L., et al. Lifestyle, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Risk Factors 10 Years after Bariatric Surgery. New England Journal of Medicine. 2004; 351: 2683–2693.