Bariatric surgery has been proven to be a safe and effective obesity treatment, with the ability to improve many obesity-related health conditions. Healthcare professionals and patients who have benefited from this medical treatment know its value. Yet, bariatric surgery is often viewed as a “last resort”.  Why is this?

A new editorial in the medical journal The Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology questions why this misperception of ‘last resort’ exists.  The editorial highlights the finding that “although early intervention is known to be important in preventing the development of obesity-related co-morbidities, bariatric surgery is almost always used to treat patients who have severe obesity and progressive comorbid disease.” There are many factors contributing to this delay, but a significant factor is undeniably the oversimplification of obesity—many people place the majority of the blame for obesity on the simple reason that a person ate too much and exercised too little. The truth is that obesity is a complex disease with many components including genetic and environmental. With misinformation so prevalent in our society, it is unfortunately easy to see how bariatric surgery is overlooked too frequently.

The author concludes: “Bariatric surgery has substantial benefits in terms of weight loss, metabolic status, and quality of life. It is safe and effective, and the future savings made through prevention of comorbid diseases could counterbalance its high cost. The surgery should, therefore, be available as an option to use when appropriate, and not only when all other options have been eliminated. Bariatric surgery offers a real opportunity for preventing comorbid diseases and complications of obesity. If it is only used as a final resort, this opportunity will be missed.”

More and more research is showing that bariatric surgery is a good weight loss option for many people. Gastric band (Lap-Band) surgery can be an effective and safe options even for patients who are only mildly obese—with a Body Mass (BMI) of just 30 in some cases.  As obesity rates continue to increase and even more research demonstrates the safety and efficacy of bariatric surgery, we hope that more people will have access to surgery at a time when it can be most beneficial to them. Waiting until bariatric surgery is a ‘last resort’ does not benefit patients. There is more benefit when surgery happens earlier. You can learn more about the benefits of weight loss surgery here or call our office today at 630-468-2545 to schedule a consultation with our highly experienced surgeon, Dr. Vafa Shayani.