It's Time to Pay Attention to the Many Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

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This month, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) featured five papers highlighting the benefits of bariatric surgery.

Not only did those papers show that people who have bariatric surgery have a lower risk of stroke and heart attacks, they highlighted the disconnect between how effective the treatment is, and how difficult it is for patients to access. You can read the recently published papers from JAMA, here.

For many people, healthcare in the United States continues to become more expensive every year. The complications of obesity are enough to put people across the country in debt, yet some health insurance companies are still hesitant to cover weight-loss surgery. It is now at the point where some patients are willing to take higher risks to have bariatric surgery in countries where it is cheap enough for them to pay out-of-pocket.

Long-Term Benefits, Long-Term Care

The benefits of bariatric surgery are vast. It can improve patients’ quality of life, reverse diabetes, eliminate sleep apnea, help control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

What is often forgotten, though, is that bariatric surgery is not the end of the journey for those who struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a chronic disease that requires life-long attention in order to maintain, similar to any other chronic condition. No one would tell a diabetes patient to take medications and never see them again, so why would we do that to a bariatric surgery patient?

The truth is surgery is an effective opponent of obesity, but prioritizing long-term care is key to maintaining that effectiveness. Having medical and bariatric surgical teams working together to set realistic expectations and promote follow-up appointments will make bariatric surgery even more successful in years to come.

With You Every Step of the Way

At the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program, we provide patients with comprehensive treatment, including care before, during and life-long after surgery. Our team of specialized surgeons, dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and anesthesiologists create individualized care plans to reach the best possible outcomes.

To begin your bariatric surgery journey at Penn, you're required to attend an information session, where members of the bariatric surgery team explain the surgeries performed, outline who is a candidate for surgery and describe the surgery process in detail.

Once your candidacy is established, you'll meet your care team and begin preparation for surgery, which includes three to six months of medical weight management, a psychological consultation, testing and participation in bariatric surgery support groups.

After surgery, lifelong follow-up care is required, including visits with your care team about two weeks, six weeks, three months, six months, one year and annually. The goal of the visits is to ensure you stay on track with weight loss, prevent weight gain and address any nutrition deficiencies or late complications. Learn more about the bariatric surgery process at Penn Medicine, here.

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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