What are the risks of obesity surgery?

For those people who are often described as “morbidly obese” and who just cannot lose their weight with regular diet and exercise, a very effective way is to undergo obesity surgery. There are several types of operations to lose weight, most generally involving surgically shrinking the stomach and usually restricted to “morbidly” obese people more than 100 pounds overweight. The procedures are often described as gastric bypass surgery, lap band, and bariatric surgery.

Most people who undergo this procedure report rapid loss in weight and once they reach an optimum weight, they can undergo other cosmetic surgery procedures like breast lift and breast augmentation to get a great looking body. In some cases, a tummy tuck, a thigh lift may also be needed to give a well contoured body.

However, plastic surgery is not a trip to the day spa. It is surgery with all the risks that come with it. And a new study finds that obesity surgery may be even riskier than most people believed it to be. This research found a higher-than-expected risk of death in the year after surgery, even among young patients (more than 5 percent of men and nearly 3 percent of women aged 35 to 44, and slightly higher rates were found in patients 45 to 54). Previous studies of people in their 30s to their 50s — the most common ages for obesity surgery — found death rates well under 1 percent. Among patients 65 to 74, nearly 13 percent of men and about 6 percent of women died. In patients 75 and older, half of the men and 40 percent of the women died. It is important to understand that people who undergo these procedures also have other ailments linked to their being overweight.

So what does it mean for you?

You do not have to be scared of the surgery just because there is risk. All surgeries have risks and you will need to do a risk-benefit analysis in consultation with your doctor. The study simply tells us that it is better to go early than to wait for obesity surgery. The older you get the higher the risk. Related article: Obesity surgery for pregnant women