Will Having Weight Loss Surgery Guarantee That You Won’t Regain the Weight?
It is not uncommon for me to hear questions along the lines of:
“Will Having Weight Loss Surgery Guarantee That I Won’t Regain the Weight?”
“If weight loss surgery is so effective, why do some people need revision weight loss surgery?”
A recent large clinical study found that 89% of people maintained their weight loss after bariatric surgery over an eight-to-ten year time frame. That still leaves at least 11% of people regaining significant weight, and with well over 200,000 procedures performed every year, those with weight re-gain represent a large number of people.
At least five studies, three of them with large samples, have demonstrated a dramatic improvement in life expectancy and reduction in disease over many years among groups of people studied who underwent weight-loss surgery, as compared to people who did not.
But the surgery is far from perfect or a magic cure-all. The same temptations and drives, stresses and human behaviors are still at work, and can lead to weight re-gain in this high carb, high-calorie environment in which we live. Bariatric centers and surgeons have continued to look for ways to help people who re-gain weight.
Some of the new technology to shrink stretched pouches may offer hope to people who have re-gained weight. But my own view is that these attempts to improve, or “revise” the original surgery work best when offered in conjunction with education, coaching, support groups, counseling and a program of physical activity to change the whole way in which a person approaches eating and activity. Clearly the secrets to long term weight loss success lie in making sustained life changes in one’s approach to food and activity levels. Revision procedures can often help, but they represent only a part of the solution to this complex and challenging problem.