There’s no argument among experts that bariatric surgery has the greatest impact and improvement on weight-related co-morbidities. In addition, it has the highest success rate for losing weight in morbidly obese individuals, but is weight loss surgery alone enough to lose a majority of a person’s excess weight and allow them to maintain that weight loss throughout their life? Or, are weight loss medications beneficial after weight loss surgery?
For anyone with a body mass index greater than 35 and who has medical problems related to their weight (high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc…), bariatric surgery remains the gold standard for significant weight loss and improvement in those weight related illnesses. Long-term weight loss maintenance with bariatric surgery is upwards of 65% according to some research, which is far superior to the long-term outcomes of weight loss with medication alone. Unfortunately, the use of weight loss medications by themselves in the morbidly obese population typically have dismal results (5-10% body weight loss), with a majority of people regaining the weight they lost along with gaining additional weight.
Current research indicates that a combination of weight loss surgery and medications may help morbidly obese patients achieve and maintain 80-90% excess weight loss. In addition, other research indicates that in a rare group of individuals, a genetic mutation may negate the effects of weight loss surgery. In order to maximize success and improve long-term resolution of weight-related co-morbidities, some experts are now recommending a combination treatment with surgery and medication. Current medications for weight loss focus on decreasing hunger, increasing satiety or feeling of fullness, and reducing fat absorption. The indications for adding medication to a bariatric surgery patient’s regimen are pretty clear. A patient must have a stable weight for 2-3 months following surgery with the need to lose additional weight to achieve their goal. Once an appropriate medication is trialed and shown successful, patients are advised that they most likely need to remain on the medication in order to maintain efficacy, and thus, maintain their weight loss. An additional 5-10% excess weight loss can be achieved with adding a medication to a bariatric surgery patient’s regimen.
Morbidly obese people with life-threatening weight-related co-morbidities have little choice but to have bariatric surgery if they want to achieve significant weight loss and improvement in their health. With the possible addition of weight loss medications, they can achieve even greater success and maintain that success throughout their lifetime. If you are plagued with medical problems related to your excess weight, I urge you to consider bariatric surgery to prolong and improve the quality of your life. At New You Sleeve, we are experts in the surgical treatment of morbid obesity and we would love to help you achieve lifelong success and improvement in your health.