Is Surgical Weight Loss Effective?


When diet and exercise have failed to help a person lose considerable weight, surgery is now the safest and most successful option. Nearly 95% of obese people who lose weight through diet and exercise alone regain all of it within five years, according to research. However, the LAP-BAND treatment and other weight-loss surgery have astoundingly high long-term success rates, allowing patients to keep off between 50 and 70 percent of their excess body weight. Weight-loss surgery is the best long-term strategy for very obese people to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle, while the success of any given patient depends on several factors.

According to studies, most people who have weight-loss surgery lose between 50 and 70 percent of their excess weight in the first three years after that. Compared to LAP-BAND, the rate of excess weight loss in the first year after gastric bypass surgery is significantly higher. Though the LAP-BAND technique allows for more slow and more natural long-term weight loss, it is associated with fewer difficulties and side effects than gastric bypass.

Medical professionals consider a procedure adequate if the patient loses at least half their excess body weight and maintains that loss for at least five years after surgery. Studies suggest that most patients undergoing weight reduction surgery can sustain a 50-60% decrease of extra body weight ten years after the treatment if they make the necessary lifestyle changes to keep the weight off. Obesity is linked to severe health problems like asthma, GERD, and diabetes, all of which can improve with a modest weight loss of 10% of total body weight. As most patients undergoing weight-loss surgery are at least 75-100 pounds overweight or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 35 due to a health problem, the average weight loss after surgery is between 40 and 100 pounds. However, the patient is the driving force behind these successes.

In addition to the psychological and emotional benefits of losing weight, there are many practical advantages to doing so. Obesity is associated with many health problems, many of which can be addressed or even cured by surgical weight loss.

However, the LAP-BAND System isn’t the only barometer of weight reduction surgical effectiveness. Many people who have had bariatric surgery can now cross their legs, bend over to tie a shoelace, go up flights of stairs without getting winded, or sit comfortably in an airplane seat, all of which they take great pride in.

While most people with weight-loss surgery report phenomenal improvements, the outcomes for any given patient depend on several factors. If you’re trying to decide if bariatric surgery is the correct choice, here are some things to consider.

Weight Before Surgery

The higher the patient’s body mass index (BMI) before surgery, the greater the expected weight loss. However, those who have less weight to drop after surgery will get closer to their goal weight if they stick to a healthy diet and regular exercise over the long term. Furthermore, even slight weight loss or gain might result in the resolution or improvement of obesity-related disorders. With earlier management at a lower weight, many diseases can become nearly curable.

The State of Health

Studies have shown that many obesity-related diseases either improve or go into remission after a successful weight-loss procedure. However, preexisting health conditions can affect the system’s success (for example, patients with type 2 Diabetes typically lose less excess body weight after surgery). High blood pressure, depression, sleep apnea, back pain, and diabetes are all linked to obesity. Still, a study of 500 people who underwent weight loss surgery in 2000 found that nearly 96% of these conditions improved after the patients lost weight and maintained their new, healthier lifestyle.

Medical Intervention

Patients considering weight-loss surgery should always seek a reputable medical team to perform the treatment, as every surgery risks injury or illness. Prospective patients should talk to former patients of the surgeon they are considering and research the surgeon’s overall success rate for weight reduction surgery. The quality of post-operative care and counseling offered by a patient’s chosen bariatric outpatient facility may also play a role in the patient’s ultimate success in losing weight.

The Role of Diet and Exercise

Patients who are in a position to exercise after weight-loss surgery have a better chance of succeeding, as food and exercise are two of the most critical aspects of any weight-loss regimen. Exercise and proper eating must become regular routines for the patient to keep the weight loss from surgery.


Maintaining the weight loss and keeping it off over the long term depends on a patient’s dedication to the bariatric outpatient facility’s prescribed food restrictions, exercise plans, and other aftercare services.


Success rates post-operation and in the long run may be higher for patients who are already very driven to lose weight and are prepared to stick to a strict diet and regular exercise regimen before undergoing weight reduction surgery. Most folks didn’t suddenly become morbidly obese. Since it took a long time to gain so much weight, patients should understand when it takes time to lose it. Successful patients recognize and relish even minor achievements along the way.


The time spent recovering following weight-loss surgery can be taxing, so it’s crucial to have the understanding and encouragement of loved ones before going under the knife. Patients considering bariatric surgery may find it helpful to surround themselves with friends and family committed to leading healthy lifestyles to provide emotional support during the long-term weight-loss effort necessary after the procedure.

The potential benefits of weight-loss surgery are numerous because significant weight loss can fix various health conditions and improve an individual’s quality of life. Surgery for weight loss is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off for people who are morbidly obese and have tried and failed to lose weight with diet and exercise alone.

Chief Clinical Officer Carole S. Guinane contributes to New Hope Today with pieces on weight reduction and obesity.

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