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Weight Loss Surgery Can Be a Valuable Tool

By Kent Sasse May 31, 2023 Health and Fitness

There is a disconnect between what doctors say about weight loss surgery and what average people say. Doctors, especially those who study the subject, view metabolic surgery as a risk-reduction tool, something that makes life safer.

The average person often views weight loss surgery as a kind of shortcut to losing weight that should be achievable on one’s own. Let’s untangle those two ideas just a little bit further.

The Medical Perspective

For the doctors and experts who study obesity and its health effects, weight loss surgery has become a valuable tool. The average person who undergoes weight loss surgery loses a substantial amount of weight for a long period of time, so much so that health risks fall significantly and life expectancy increases.

These are no small conclusions, but they have been firmly reached in large perspective studies across many nations, and have convinced even the firmest skeptics. Hard-won endorsements from societies like the American Heart Association came after data showing large reductions in the risk of heart attack, stroke, and fatal arrhythmia after weight loss surgery.

The Average Person Perspective

The average person, on the other hand, does not always connect excess weight with higher health risks, at least not quite as crisply as doctors do. Additionally, the average person often looks at excess weight as a personal failing, and thinks that with the right diet and exercise program, anyone could enjoy a normal weight.

Once again, the data bears out a very different truth. Across countries, ages, and many different strategies, non-surgical weight loss efforts do not produce significant weight loss over a significant timeframe. Non-surgical weight loss efforts do not result in significant risk reduction or longevity increases. The largest, most intensive and well-funded investigations have terminated the studies for futility.

Eventually, the reality about a health intervention becomes clearer. So despite the disconnect, the intransigence of health insurers, and the stigma of obesity as a disease process, gradually the impact of metabolic surgery is becoming evident to more and more people who spread the word to yet more people.

Events like the Covid pandemic highlight the risk of obesity and how living day to day and year to year with excess weight translates to more severe health risks. Despite being significantly overweight, we might not feel unhealthy or worry about our looks or fashion or other nonsense the media focuses on, but mother nature is very unforgiving when it comes to disease and injury.

And fighting disease and injury while suffering from obesity is a whole lot more difficult, and the risks are a whole lot higher. Everything from Covid to a car crash could develop into serious disability or death.

The Bottom Line

Weight loss surgery has become increasingly safe, simplified, and uncomplicated, resulting in years or decades of improved health. It is just a medical treatment to reduce risk and improve health, simply put. Add that peace of mind to the quality-of-life gains from shedding those pounds, and there is an opportunity for life being a lot more fun.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What do you know about weight loss surgery? Have you ever inquired about it or researched it? Do you know anyone who might have benefitted from this procedure?

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I’ve seen so many horror stories connected with weight loss surgery. One former coworker’s surgery was botched, twice, and she ended up wearing a long GI tube which reached her knees. Another could eat nothing but mashed potatoes for over a year. A third person had ghostly white skin and had to have massive weekly vitamin injections because she couldn’t ingest enough nutrients. No, thank you!


People gain their weight back after surgery unless they are engaged in life-long vigilance. The better alternative seems to be the new weight loss drugs.

Kathy Koepsell

But I have read that the new drugs must be taken even after the person reaches desired weight or the weight comes back when drugs are discontinued


That’s correct. It gets very spendy very quickly.


I had a sleeve gastrectomy in April 2014. I lost a total of 80#. From #247down to #167. I kept the weight off til Covid hit. During the 3 years from March 2020 to today I’ve gained back #30. The isolation and inactivity was horrible. Add to that the harsh winters here in Wisconsin ( no one wanted to go for a walk!). I am now back on track to lose at least half of the weight gain. ( it’s normal to gain some weight after the first year). I’ve met with the Bariatric Dietician and am scheduled to meet with the Bariatric MD.

The Author

Dr. Kent Sasse, an Alpha Omega Alpha top medical school graduate of UCSF, earned fellowship at the prestigious Lahey Clinic in Boston and published research on pelvic floor therapy and metabolic surgery. He founded and directs The Continence Center and the nationally accredited Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery program in Reno, Nevada. His most recent book is Outpatient Weight-Loss Surgery.

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