Gastric Bypass, Is It Worth It?

obese man with hamburger

The prevalence of gastric bypass, or bariatric, surgeries has soared within the past 15 years. It has increased 16 fold to 220,000 surgeries per year. It has become a cure all and a go to, for obesity.

Obesity affects 1 in 3 Americans. At the Weight of the Nation Conference in Washington, they said that the number of obese Americans is expected to increase from 36% presently to 42% of the adult population in 2030. These experts estimate that the cost of treating these additional obese people for health issues related to their obesity (heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) will add up to nearly $550 billion over the next 2 decades. You can read more about this in a previous article about the rising cost of obesity here.

Many people just don’t know how to go about losing weight. Many people get overwhelmed when trying to lose weight and just give up. Many people try to start an exercise program only to hurt themselves by exercising too hard at the beginning and have to stop.

It is very hard to lose weight. Trying, and failing, at multiple exercise and weight loss systems can make someone desperate to lose weight. The whole process can be discouraging and depressing. It doesn’t help that our media is obsessed with being thin. We are constantly bombarded by advertising telling us that we should be unrealistically, and for most of us impossibly, thin. We are constantly under assault from the media telling us how we should look like this model or that celebrity. Even when those people themselves don’t look as good as they do in real life as compared to when they are on film. It is easy to make most people look good on film.

These are just some of the reasons why the prevalence of gastric bypass surgery has soared within the past 10 years. But surgery is very rarely the answer. I work on backs and joints. When pertaining to joints, surgery is rarely the answer. Many people view surgery as a quick and easy fix to a problem. What they don’t take into account is all of the hours and days and weeks, and even months, of rehab and physical therapy that has to follow a surgery in order for it to be successful.

Those who undergo low back surgery have a 50% chance of being no better off or worse off after the surgery. The success is usually determined by the follow up care and follow up therapy. The more dedicated the patient is to exercise and therapy, strengthening up and stabilizing the surgical area, the better off the recovery will be.

This pertains to gastric bypass surgery. It will only be successful if you change around your lifestyle and habits. If you have the surgery and go right back to living the lifestyle that caused you to become obese, you will gain all your weight back and you will have gone through the surgery for nothing. But if you can follow up the surgery with eating healthy and exercising, the surgery will be successful, and you will lose weight. The surgery can give you a jump start to weight loss. But it will not magically make you thin. It will not make you magically exercise and eat right.  It will not magically change around your lifestyle and habits. All of this will take hard work and dedication.

The surgery basically shrinks the stomach. This allows for less food to fill you up. You will feel full after eating very little food. Since you are able to eat less food,  you have to make sure that what you are eating is healthy and nutritious. If you fill up on cake then you can actually end up becoming malnourished and this will cause health problems down the road.

I don’t like surgery. Do you know the definition of minor surgery? It’s surgery done on someone else. Complications can happen even with minor surgeries.

My father and I worked on a retired pro football player a while ago. We were reducing his low back and hip pain, but the progress was too slow for him. He then had routine surgery on his low back. He ended up throwing a blood clot on the surgical table, having a stroke and dying.

There is no minor surgery. If you can avoid surgery, avoid it at all costs. You can always have surgery later on if you put it off, but once you have it you can never undo it’s effects. Surgery is never cut and dry. It is very rare that you go in, get the surgery, you leave and are done with it and never have to think about it again. Maybe that happens will an appendectomy, but not with most surgeries.

That is why I think you are better off trying to consistently exercise and eat right. Try it for a few years. But you have to exercise consistently. Everyone has times where they fall off the wagon and binge on eating and stop exercising. Don’t get discouraged if this happens to you. If this does happen to you, then just get up the next morning and get right back into the exercise and eating routine. If you stop exercising for more than a month then you will not be able to jump right back into your old exercise routine. You will have to start slower and easier then you were going when you left off. But the trick is to not get discouraged and get right back into your routine.

Even if you don’t lose a lot of weight, you will still be healthier than you were before exercising, and you will feel better. Studies show that if you are exercising and overweight, you will be healthier than someone who is skinny and not exercising. Try not to focus on the weight. Try to focus on being healthy and feeling good. Read more about being overweight and healthy here.

Taking care of yourself will have long term ramifications on your life. You will age more gracefully. You will have less aches and pains. You will have less chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. You will also save a lot of money.

A study published in the journal JAMA Surgery, proved that the health care costs after having bariatric surgery is no different than those who are obese and never had the surgery. Even when the $20 to $25,000 price tag of the procedure was taken out of the equation, the ongoing expenses for those who had the surgery were roughly the same as those who were obese and did not have the surgery.

Dr. Edward H. Livingston wrote an editorial to accompany this study. In it he said “bariatric surgery does not provide an overall societal benefit.” He goes on to say how the surgery has dramatic short term results. But its’ effects on longevity, long term health and long term weight loss, have been disappointing.

Dr. Livingston went on to say that “In this era of tight finances and inevitable rationing of healthcare resources, bariatric surgery should be viewed as an expensive resource.” It should only be offered to patients “if there is an overwhelming probability of long-term success.”

You can always have bariatric surgery. But you can’t take it back once you have it. That is why I feel that we are much better off trying to exercise and eat right consistently for a few years, under the supervision of someone who knows how to exercise and eat right. Rather than going for the quick fix with surgery.

I always think that if something seems too good to be true, than it is. Just as there are no get rich quick schemes work, get thin quick schemes do not work either. Don’t fall for the hype and advertising. The only thing that works for losing weight, keeping it off, reducing pain and increasing activity is exercise and eating right.

Make exercise and eating right as easy as possible on yourself. In the Pain Free Lifestlye program, everything is laid out for you step by step. From how to ease your way into exercise so as to not hurt yourself, to incorporating eating right into your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be a huge mountain to overcome. It is very possible. It is the Pain Free Way.



One thought on “Gastric Bypass, Is It Worth It?”

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