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​How Effective is Surgery?

Does Bariatric Surgery Work?

The amount of weight lost after surgery is dependent upon several factors:

  • Age
  • Ability to exercise
  • Commitment to maintaining dietary guidelines and other follow-up care
  • How well family and friends support the patient's lifestyle changes
  • Motivation
  • Overall condition of health
  • Surgical procedure used
  • Weight before surgery

In general, weight loss surgery success is defined as losing 50 percent or more of excess body weight and maintaining that level for at least five years. However, results can vary according to the procedure used and the surgeon who performs it. Ask your doctor about the clinical results of a recommended procedure.

What Studies Show About Weight Loss Surgery

  • Most patients lose weight rapidly and continue to do so until 18 to 24 months after the procedure.
  • Patients may lose 30 to 50 percent of their excess weight in the first six months, and they may lose 77 percent of excess weight as early as 12 months after surgery.
  • Patients can maintain a 50–60 percent loss of excess weight 10–14 years after surgery.
  • Patients with higher initial body mass indexes (BMIs) tend to lose more total weight than patients with lower initial BMIs.
  • Patients with lower initial BMIs will lose a greater percentage of their excess weight and are likely to come closer to their ideal body weight than patients with higher initial BMIs.
  • Patients with Type 2 diabetes tend to show less overall excess weight loss than patients without Type 2 diabetes.
  • Many patients with Type 2 diabetes demonstrate excellent resolution of their diabetic condition, to the point of having little or no need for continuing medication.
  • Surgery is effective in improving and controlling many obesity-related health conditions, such as back pain, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.