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Get Healthier, Live Longer

Get Healthier, Live Longer

Bariatric surgery can help you lose weight – and add years to your life.

The benefits of weight loss are many, from reduced risk of cardiovascular disease to increased energy. But bariatric, or weight loss, surgery can multiple these benefits and lead to a longer, healthier life.

Research has shown that obese patients who undergo weight loss surgery live an average of three years longer than those who receive other forms of obesity care. In fact, people who have any form of bariatric surgery lower their risk of death from chronic or serious medical conditions by more than 40%.

Losing Weight For Good

Diet and exercise can be effective ways to trim down, but they don’t work for everyone. A person with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35 has a less than 1% chance of staying at a healthy body weight, and people who are obese and lose weight through diet and exercise alone have a very high chance of gaining all of the weight back.

Bariatric surgery, on the other hand, has a much higher success rate, because the procedure leads to changes in several factors that play a big role in weight gain: appetite, metabolism (the way your body burns calories) and satiety (feeling full after you eat). Hormonal changes after a weight loss procedure can also make it easier to lose weight.

“What we know about surgery is that it is significantly more effective for both losing weight and keeping weight off,” said Mary Katie Hanisee, MD, FACS, FASMBS, metabolic and bariatric surgery director at South Georgia Surgical Associates. “Surgery results in the loss of 60% to 75% of excess body weight after one year, while medical weight loss therapy leads to an average of 5% to 10% loss, which is often regained.”

About 90% of patients keep a significant amount of weight off for good after surgery, making it a promising option for many people who have not had success with other forms of weight loss.

A Happier, Healthier Life

Keeping excess weight off for the long term has a multitude of health benefits. One of the biggest advantages is a decreased risk of serious illnesses, including:

  • Cancer, such as breast and endometrial cancers
  • Heart attack, heart failure and other cardiovascular issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes

Other physical health benefits include:

  • Fewer joint and body aches and pains
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduced problems from acid reflux

Many patients who opt to undergo bariatric surgery report not only feeling healthier and having more energy, but also higher levels of happiness and confidence, as they are able to participate in more activities and have a better quality of life.

How Does Bariatric Surgery Work?

The two most common types of weight loss surgery are gastric bypass and gastric sleeve.

In gastric bypass, the surgeon divides your stomach into two sections using staples, then connects the small intestine to the smaller top section, also called the pouch. The food you eat will go into the pouch, which is about the size of a walnut. Following this surgery, you will eat less, and your body will absorb fewer calories.

During gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon uses staples to create a banana-shaped stomach tube. The rest of the stomach is removed, making this procedure irreversible. You will feel full much faster, leading to weight loss.

“Both are very safe surgeries,” Dr. Hanisee said. “Gastric bypass has a 75% excess body weight loss rate versus 60% for gastric sleeve. After an honest discussion with a physician of all of the risks and benefits for each surgery, it is ultimately the patient’s decision on which one to choose.”

Who Can Get Bariatric Surgery?

Patients who meet the following criteria are candidates for surgery:

  • Age 21-65
  • A BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with a serious related health condition, such as heart disease or diabetes
  • Willingness to participate in a monitored weight loss program for three to six months

“We are here to help anyone ready to make a lifestyle change to have a happy, healthy, confident life in whatever way it works for them, whether is be surgery or medical management,” Dr. Hanisee said.

To learn more about the options available at the Archbold Bariatric and Weight Management Program, visit