Weight Loss Surgery for the Non-Obese?

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Weight Loss Surgery for the Non-Obese?

Weight loss surgery is not just for the morbidly obese any more. That’s the conclusion of a research team from the University of Southampton in Britain.

In a new review — the third update of a review from 2002 — researchers examined 26 previously published studies on bariatric surgery involving nearly 5800 patients.

Five of the included trials took place in the United States. Specifically, two trials examined people of moderate obesity — with a body mass index between 30 and 40 — who had weight-related conditions such as type II diabetes.

After reviewing these 26 studies, the authors found that surgery simply works better at restoring patient health no matter what the level of obesity.

Simply put, patients below the standard weight loss surgery threshold of 35 BMI benefitted just as much from surgery as did those over a BMI of 35. Smaller patients—those with a BMI as low as 30, but still considered obese, saw similar reductions in type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other co- morbidities of obesity.

Not all weight loss surgery procedures resulted in equal outcomes, however. The team found some evidence to suggest that gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures resulted in a greater amount of weight loss than did adjustable gastric band surgeries.

Side effects and complications resulting from weight loss surgery seemed to be about the same in both moderately obese and morbidly obese patients.

There’s no doubt that weight loss surgery produces greater weight loss in less time than dieting and exercise can; the effect on the patient’s BMI with weight loss surgery is dramatic and rapid.

However, until now it’s been uncommon for doctors to recommend bariatric surgery to patients whose lives were not literally in jeopardy to some degree from obesity, and insurance carriers won’t cover the procedure for patients whose BMI does not qualify as morbidly obese.

If weight loss surgery for patients with non-life-threatening obesity becomes commonplace, demand for such surgery could be high.

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