Is bariatric surgery safe, and should it be considered a last resort?
Bariatric surgery is extremely safe, and it is now considered a first-line treatment for obesity. There have been monumental advancements in the field of bariatric surgery, especially with the advent of minimally invasive and robotic techniques. In fact, weight-loss surgery has become safer than gallbladder surgery in an experienced bariatric surgeon’s hands.
Surgery now is being performed either laparoscopically or robotically through four to five small keyhole incisions, which translates to minimal postoperative pain, quick return to activity and work, and very short length of hospital stays.
For example, in my bariatric program, which is fully robotic, patients are in the hospital less than 24 hours. Most take pain medication for only one to a few days and are pain-free and able to go back to work and normal life very quickly.
In addition to its amazing safety profile, you also reap benefits in that many conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, sleep apnea, infertility and depression can completely go away or significantly improve. Another important benefit is just being able to be active in your life — to be able to play with your kids and run upstairs.
Obesity is a complex and chronic problem. It is difficult for patients to tackle it alone. There are environmental, socioeconomic, and genetic factors all working at times against their weight loss-efforts.
There are better options than the old advice of eat less and move more. What is important for people to know is that there are effective ways to help with obesity
Bariatric surgery, which is the most effective, time-tested, and sustainable option to combat obesity, is very safe. Patients don’t have to battle their weight struggles alone.
However, like all surgical procedures, bariatric surgery does come with risks that your bariatric surgeon will explain depending on the patient profile, type of surgery, and the surgeon experience. However, the benefits usually far outweigh the risk, and most patients say that surgery has been one of the best life decisions they ever made.
Ramy A. Awad, M.D.
Desert Surgical & Bariatric Specialists
555 E. Tachevah Drive, Ste. 3W-105
Palm Springs, California