Baricol / News Archive / What are the benefits of WLS in addition to weight loss?

What are the benefits of WLS in addition to weight loss?

There's a common perception that the reason people have weight loss surgery is to, well, lose weight. But we know that the main reasons for having surgery are all the other benefits.  For example, do you know how many years you extend your life through having bariatric surgery?

The disease of obesity is often related to other diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, depression, infertility, incontinence, and others.  The healthcare system typically treats all these diseases individually. But with bariatric surgery, you treat them all at once!  In fact, the top reasons for having WLS are not weight loss itself. They are to treat these other health issues and risks that are associated with having excess weight. Let’s take the example of type 2 diabetes to really see how much of an impact surgery can have.  

Bariatric Surgery: the World’s Best Diabetes Treatment

Type 2 diabetes is quite common, affecting an estimated 9% of adults in Europe alone as of 2017. There are many health risks that increase when someone has diabetes, including the risk heart attack, kidney disease, and visual and sensory conditions.   In addition, diabetes has been shown to decrease life expectancy.  And this is where bariatric surgery comes in!

Did you know that about 85% of patients who had diabetes before surgery no longer do 5 years after surgery? Most of this has little to nothing to do with weight loss itself but rather metabolic changes that occur as a result of the surgery. That’s why more and more people are emphasising that these are not simply weight loss surgeries or bariatric surgeries – they are metabolic surgeries!  A gastric bypass generally has a more powerful effect than a sleeve, but both also improve diabetes greatly.

But what about life expectancy?

For those who have diabetes before surgery, their life expectancy goes up by…. wait for it…9 years!  9 years!  Those who do not have diabetes before surgery increase their life expectancy by 5 years!  These statistics alone are enough for many to realise that  this is not at all about weight loss.  This is about living life!

What else improves after WLS?

There are many more diseases and conditions that improve with the help of metabolic/bariatric surgery. Just take a look at the figure below.  That’s why when you have surgery, you are making a decision not only to treat the disease of obesity, but your whole body.  As you can very easily see, it’s really not about the weight, but everything else that WLS does. 

Image Retrieved from: https://www.drchiragthakkar.com/patients-guide-to-bariatric-weight-loss-surgery-in-india/