Debunking WLS Myths: The Real Risks and Benefits

The utility of weight loss surgery is often misunderstood. The many misconceptions around its use, effectiveness and safety keep those suffering from obesity from getting the treatment they need.

“Nearly all American adults agree that obesity increases a person’s risk of dying early even if they don’t have any other health conditions. However, few consider obesity in and of itself as a disease,” according to a 2016 study.

By better understanding obesity as a disease and the benefits of its most effective treatment—weight loss surgery—we can help combat the many stigmas and barriers keeping people from seeking proper care.

Earlier in this series, we tackled the myth that weight loss surgery is the easy way out. Next up, we are debunking the belief that weight loss surgery isn’t safe. Here’s a breakdown of why that is just a myth:

Popular perception gets it wrong
According to the American Society for Metabolic Surgery (ASMBS), only one-third of Americans believe weight loss surgery to be safe. What two thirds of the population may not realize is that bariatric surgery has a 99.9% survival rate. While surgery isn’t a quick fix, it is a safe and effective tool to combat obesity.

Obesity isn’t all that’s helped
Those that suffer from obesity face many long-term health risks greater than the risks of weight loss surgery. Ailments associated with obesity like heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, joint paint and even cancer can be combated with weight loss surgery.

“Cancer mortality is reduced by 60 percent for bariatric patients. Death in association with diabetes is reduced by more than 90 percent and that from heart disease by more than 50 percent,” reports ASMBS.

It’s effective and safe
“Only bariatric surgery can provide substantial and maintained weight loss, which in turn results in improvement of obesity-related co-morbidities and quality of life,” reports The Journal of the American Medical Association.

While weight loss surgery isn’t a cure-all, it is an extremely effective tool to combat obesity and raise a patient’s overall health. From quality of life to life-threatening ailments, weight loss surgery is a safe method to help a patient get back on the road to health.

It helps to have a “navigator,” like Sharon Hillgartner at Texas Health Flower Mound. Find out more about Sharon here:
Not sure if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery? View our bariatric surgery guidelines here.