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New Guidelines for Weight Loss Surgery: Long-Term Benefits and Potential Risks

Weight loss surgery, referred to as bariatric surgery, has been gaining traction since the 1950s. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), this type of surgery is used to help facilitate weight loss. It is an umbrella term for different weight loss surgery procedures such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch.[0]

In October 2022, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released new guidelines for weight loss surgery, the first update in 30 years.[1] The ASMBS and IFSO have created new guidelines that suggest metabolic and bariatric surgery should be done on people with a BMI of 35, and that it should be considered for those with a BMI of 30-34.9 who also have metabolic disease.[1]

A study published in Obesity, titled “Long-term All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality for Four Bariatric Surgery Procedures,” compared the mortality rates of 22,000 adults with bariatric surgery and those without.[2] It was discovered that those who underwent bariatric surgery experienced 16% fewer deaths from all causes than those who did not have the procedure. Both males and females showed a lower mortality rate.[3] The mortality rate among those who underwent surgery decreased by 29%, 43% and 72% for cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, respectively, when compared to those who did not have surgery.[4] Patients who had surgery for chronic liver disease had death rates 83% higher for both males and females than those who did not have the surgery.[5] The risk of suicide was 2.4 times greater for those who underwent surgery compared to those who did not, particularly for individuals aged 18 to 34 years old.[6]

Weight-loss surgery can be a life-changing experience and may help a person lose 40-70% of excess body weight over a period of 2-3 years. However, it does come with potential risks and requires a lifestyle change to be successful.

Overall, the study provides evidence that bariatric surgery can be effective in significantly reducing death rates from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes in both men and women.[5] Moreover, it highlights the need for more pre-surgical psychological evaluation and post-surgery follow-up in younger patients to reduce the risk of suicide.[6]

0. “40-Year Study Finds Weight-Loss Surgery Extending Life Spans” Crossroads Today, 25 Jan. 2023,

1. “Weight Loss (Bariatric) Surgery Reduces Early Death Risk” Everyday Health, 27 Jan. 2023,

2. “Study: Bariatric Surgery Linked to Significant Decrease in Mortality at 40-year Follow-up” Patient Care Online, 27 Jan. 2023,

3. “Study: 40-year follow up shows significant reduction in death rates after bariatric surgery” Medical Xpress, 25 Jan. 2023,

4. “How Bariatric Surgery Lowers the Risk of Death and Improves Quality of Life” Healthline, 24 Jan. 2023,

5. “Battling Obesity Crisis: Can Bariatric Surgery Be The Solution?” Revyuh, 25 Jan. 2023,

6. “Obesity: Bariatric surgery linked to significant drop in death rates” Medical News Today, 26 Jan. 2023,

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