Gastric Bypass Surgery Benefits: Weight Loss And Beyond

How effective is gastric bypass surgery? How much weight can you realisticly expect to lose, and will you really be able to keep it off for good?

That’s the #1 question many have when making the decision whether or not to have surgery. Will it be worth it? Will it work for me?

Well, depending on what “working” means to you, there is good evidence that gastric bypass surgery has a very good chance of making a positive impact on your weight and your health.

Gastric Bypass Weight Loss Statistics

First of all, let’s look at the statistics on dieting alone. Dieters typically are able to lose about 10% of their overall body weight. For a 300 pound person, that equals about 30 pounds.

And as we’ve probably all experienced, about 95% of the time, they gain that weigh back and then some.

By contrast, Gastric Bypass Surgery has a high success rate, and patients lose an average of 62 to 68 percent of their excess body weight in the first year. Weight loss typically plateaus after one to two years, with an overall excess weight loss between 50 and 75 percent. For a person who is 120 pounds overweight, an average of 60 to 90 pounds of weight loss would be expected.

Most usually gain some of the weight back. This study followed 274 patients for an average of 11 years. They found that 34% had maintained a loss of 80% of their excess weight. Listing multiple other studies, they say that the average gastric bypass patient maintains a loss of between 50% and 75% of their excess weight 10 years after surgery.

If you weigh 300 pounds, and your perfect weight is say 145, on average you will weigh around 195 one year out, and around 180 by about 18 months. 10 years later, on average you’ll weigh between 183 and 222.

In other words, you most likely will not get supermodel skinny. You will, however, see a dramatic difference and improvement.

Of course, those figures are averages. Some people do much better, some much worse. It all depends on you, and how you use the tool gastric bypass surgery gives you. It is up to you to eat right and excercise, especially after the “honeymoon period” is over and your pouch doesn’t keep you so strictly on track.

Gastric Bypass
Benefits Beyond Weight Loss

There is mounting evidence that gastric bypass surgery can bring a number of benefits in addition to weight loss.

With thanks to Suzanne, who originally posted this image at the Thinner Times Forum, here is a great illustration of how the benefits of gastric bypass can be felt over your entire body:

benefits of gastric bypass

Reprinted with permission of The Cleveland Clinic Center for Medical Art & Photography © 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Some of the things I notice about the image and the article that accompanied it: The stats come from multiple studies, so there’s no set amount of time after surgery by which these improvements should have appeared. Also, I notice the image cites an 89% reduction in mortality, while the article I linked to says that reduction is in the mortality rate from morbid obesity. Big difference!

Other studies have found that:

Of course, these benefits are only half of the story when deciding whether you should have gastric bypass surgery. There are also risks, complications and unpleasant side effects of gastric bypass surgery.

Weigh both the positive and the negative, and get a realistic picture of what you can expect. Making an educated decision and going into it well prepared (if surgery is what you ultimately decide) will give you that much more chance for success.

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