Weight Loss Surgery Expectations After Health

Health after bariatric surgery can improve tremendously as extra weight is lost. People who undergo bariatric surgery report experiencing increased energy, a reduction in the severity of their obesity-related conditions and an overall improvement in their quality of life.

Bariatric surgery is a major surgical procedure and is not without its disadvantages. Vitamin deficiency is common, and serious complications may require further surgeries.

Despite the risks associated with bariatric procedures, health after bariatric surgery is usually an improvement from pre-surgical health.

Weight Loss after Bariatric Surgery

Weight loss is the most obvious improvement to health after bariatric surgery. Presuming individuals exercise and stick to a post bariatric surgery diet, bariatric surgery results in significant weight loss.

Up to 75 percent of patients lose 75 to 80 percent of their excess weight within two years of bariatric surgery. Keeping the weight off requires a commitment to exercise, lifestyle changes and a healthful diet.

Obesity-Related Disorders

Health conditions associated with obesity improve drastically with bariatric surgery. Depending on their severity, obesity-related conditions may even disappear after surgery.

Obesity increases the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and pulmonary disease. Medical experts assume that bariatric surgery reduces the risk of these diseases, although more study is needed to confirm this hypothesis.

Other health conditions that improve after bariatric surgery include:

  • acid reflux / GERD
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • fatigue
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • joint pain
  • shortness of breath
  • sleep apnea
  • type II non-insulin dependant diabetes.

Health after bariatric surgery can mean less medication. In fact, up to 90 percent of bariatric surgery patients with type II non-insulin dependant diabetes no longer require medication after surgery.

High blood pressure also improves markedly. Up to 80 percent of patients taking hypertension medication see improvements in blood pressure that allow them to come off their medication.

Intangible Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Health after bariatric surgery has mental as well as physical benefits. Patients who undergo successful bariatric surgery can expect an improvement in their quality of life and may develop better self-esteem.

Bariatric Surgery Complications

While health after bariatric surgery generally improves, complications can and do occur. As with any surgery, there is a risk of postoperative infection.

Surgery complications can also include:

  • deep venous thrombosis (blood clots)
  • gallstones (develop in approximately one third of cases)
  • leaking from staple sites
  • reopening of surgical wounds
  • ulcers.

Vitamin deficiency is a fact of life after bariatric surgery. Fortunately proper multivitamin and mineral supplementation use prevent deficiencies. Possible vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies include:

  • calcium
  • iron
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin D.

While multivitamin supplementation effectively controls possible vitamin deficiency, up to 30 percent of bariatric surgery patients develop vitamin deficiencies because they do not follow vitamin supplement requirements.

Long-term health risks associated with bariatric surgery include:

  • anastomotic difficulties (fluid leaks out of the intestines and into the abdominal cavity)
  • dehydration
  • gastritis
  • hernias.

The risk of complications rises if the individual requires additional corrective or revision surgery.

Depression and Weight Loss

While bariatric surgery can improve self-esteem and quality of life, the surgery can also cause depression. Food and emotions are closely intertwined for many people. Suddenly being unable to eat when under emotional stress is challenging and may result in depression.

Life, Health and Bariatric Surgery

Researchers estimate that morbid obesity lowers a person’s life expectancy by 20 percent. Bariatric surgery, coupled with exercise and a commitment to a post bariatric diet, allows people to reclaim that 20 percent.

A clinical study of 66,000 obese people puts bariatric surgery risks and benefits into perspective: 13.6 years after gastric bypass surgery, three percent of patients under the age of 40 died.

In comparison, 14 percent of the control group who did not undergo bariatric surgery had also died. These results indicate that, over the long term, bariatric surgery has a positive effect on health.


Bariatric-Surgery.info (n.d.). Health benefits of weight loss surgery. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from the Bariatric-Surgery.info Web site.

Collins, Anne (n.d.). Health dangers of gastric bypass surgery. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from the Anne Collins Web site.

Ethicon Endo-Surgery (2008). Health transformation. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from the Bariatric Edge Web site.

Kreps, G. (March 21, 2006). Bariatric surgery leads to long-term blood pressure changes in extremely obese patients. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from the Innovations Report Web site.

Renaissance Healthcare Systems (n.d.). Benefits of gastric bypass surgery. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from the Obesity Surgery Specialists Web site.