The Deadly Risks of Gastric Bypass

Researchers are debating whether or not bariatric surgeries dealing with obesity present more benefits or more risks to patients.

Gastric bypass surgery, which involves creating a smaller stomach by stapling off a section and rearranging the small intestine, is one they have been specifically focused on. While some researchers claimed the surgery saves lives of extremely obese people, an opposing study found that one in every 50 gastric bypass surgeries result in death within a month after the operation.

Critics say the risks far outweigh the benefits, in that the surgery not only poses a risk of death, but also sets people up for medical problems such as malnutrition.

Those in favor of the surgery disagree, and believe that patients who make it through the operation will benefit from improvements in common obesity-related health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and lung function. They even claim those who undergo the operation seem to live longer.

In a study involving 66,109 obese patients, two groups were formed. The first group consisted of 3,328 patients who received gastric bypass surgery, while the second group included the remainder of the patients, or those hospitalized for some other medical reason.

Researchers found:

  • In the time span of 30 days, one in 50 surgery patients died

  • Approximately 3 percent of patients who had gastric bypass surgery were younger than 40 and died after 13.6 years, compared to the 13.8 percent who did not have the surgery

  • After 15 years, 11.8 percent of patients of all ages who had gastric bypass surgery died, compared to the 16.3 percent who did not have the surgery

Another study concerning bariatric surgery involved 1,035 morbidly obese patients who had gastric bypass surgery and 5,746 patients of the same weight who did not have the surgery.

The results from the study showed:

  • Sixty-seven percent of the gastric bypass patients lost their excess weight

  • In a five-year follow up, six patients died (four from the operation), compared to the 350 patients who died and did not have the surgery

  • Patients having bariatric surgeries had an 89 percent reduced risk of death

It is important to note: The success rate of gastric bypass surgery reflects the experience of the surgeon, in that patients are at five times the risk of death during surgery if a surgeon is less experienced.

USA Today October 6, 2004

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

At nearly $30,000 a pop, and with the endless health risks associated with it, is gastric bypass surgery worth it?

It is the only approach that conventional medicine has for obesity, yet its long-term success rate borders on 10 percent, and is fraught many complications including:

  • Bone loss
  • Liver failure
  • Immune system damage

A staggering two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, putting them at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, depression and several forms of cancer. This is a problem of catastrophic proportions and one that can be relatively easily corrected. Gastric bypass may seem like the quick fix, but it is not the solution because of its many negative long-term health consequences.

The good news here is that overweight and obesity are nearly 100 percent preventable, eliminating the temptation of potentially harming your body through overnight operations.

By exercising, addressing emotional stresses and following my eating plan as fully described in my book, TOTAL HEALTH, controlling weight gain and obesity can become a reality.

A perfect complement to my nutritional plan, which thoroughly covers the exercise components to staying healthy is Paul Chek's latest book, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!, which I highly recommend.

Needless to say, I am not an advocate of bariatric surgeries and believe there are far more effective, healthy and less expensive options.

Related Articles:

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Obesity Surgery Leaves Many in Misery

Concerns Raised Over "Stomach Stapling" Surgery for Obese

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