What Is the Mortality Rate of Bariatric Surgery?

Our world is moving toward an overall higher body mass. Technological progress provided us with chances of more jobs that just require sitting and thinking while minimizing the amount of time we have for physical activities.

The food industry advertises its unhealthy, easy-to-prepare products as people prefer to spend less time on cooking, and more time on working.

Parks are getting destroyed in order to have more space for our massive highways and malls.

The above-mentioned causes alongside many other factors, hand in hand are directing us to more obese populations.

According to WHO, there were more than 1.9 overweight people in the world in 2016. This number is only for 18-year-old and more people. So, the other 340 million obese people were excluded from this number.

Obesity severely affects people’s quality of life while most solutions for this intense problem are irreversible and in most cases not even that effective. However, science has come to our rescue one more time and surgical procedures, also known by the name weight loss or bariatric procedures have proven to be the ultimate solution for obesity.

As obesity creates many more problems that affect short and long-term mortality, it is important for the surgical patient to make sure the solution they’re choosing for their problem notably reduces the risk for mortality.

Just like all the other medical methods, bariatric procedure is not pure from side effects. But what are these risks? To be more accurate, does this surgical procedure increase or decrease the risk of death? How? These are the questions you must find clear-cut answers to while considering weight loss surgery or any other solution.

This blog post is the result of studying the most credible researches alongside collecting the experience of the most accredited experts.

Obesity Death Rate vs. Bariatric Surgery Mortality Rate

Obesity, morbid obesity, in particular, is not just about not being able to wear any clothes you like or not feeling good enough about your appearance.

It causes some serious problems, including respiratory conditions, most of which not only put overweight people in great danger but decrease their life expectancy to a high extent.

Using the data-driven by previous studies, here’s a statistical analysis of the problems caused by bariatric surgery and obesity and the mortality rates of obese patients before and after the operation.

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), during a current study researchers examined the gastric bypass operation mortality rate of super-obese patients who had undergone surgery.

Following 10-year data, the results showed a 48% decline in death because of obesity and other diseases associated with being overweight and that these health benefits increase with time.

Another original observational study detected the effects of bariatric surgery in mortality on 4047 Swedish obese subjects that included both gastric bypass patients who underwent weight-loss surgery and nonsurgical controls, also called the controlled group, who received not nonsurgical treatment of obesity.

Here’s a chart review of the maximum weight loss bariatric surgery patients experienced:

1-2 Years After the Surgery 10 Years After the Surgery
Gastric Bypass 32% 25%
Vertical-Banded Gastroplasty 25% 16%
Banding 20% 14%

Calculating the number of obese patients in the controlled group and the surgery group in addition to the data regarding the weight loss results and fatality rate, the researchers found out that the patients who accepted the surgery faced more long-term weight loss in addition to decreased mortality rate.

The reason for this noticeable long-term survival after the bariatric operations is pretty clear. According to Science Daily, overweight people, the ones with severe obesity, in particular, have higher chances of getting diabetes, different types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and etc.

These serious problems put them at greater risk of premature death to a high extent, about 50 to 100 percent more than people with BMI less than 30.

Short-Term Death Rates After Bariatric Surgery

One of the most significant factors to obese patients who are considering sleeve gastrectomy, bypass bariatric surgery, or other types of weight-loss operations, is to gather trustworthy information on the death rate after bariatric surgery in the short run.

A report published by the US National Institute of Health reveals the results of a study analyzing a follow-up period of 30 days and mortality rate during this time.

Of the 6118 patients included in the research, 18 people died, 16 of whom had Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) and only 2 had gastric sleeve.

As gastric bypass mortality rate was about 0.3%, the probability of short-term death after this weight-loss surgery is so little.

Sleeve gastrectomy death rate is even less and close to 0 based on this study.

Most of the other studies observing the short-term fatality rate after bariatric surgery confirm this result as well.

Blood clots, internal hernia, nausea are some other complications that occur after bariatric surgery but do not result in death.

Long-Term Death Rates After Bariatric Surgery Procedures

But what about the long-term mortality rate? After all, bariatric surgery affects the patients for a lifetime. So, does it decrease this lifetime in the long run?

Let’s take a look at a study that included a 10-year follow-up of 4344 Brazilian bariatric surgery patients from January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2010.

The total death rate, regardless of the relativity of the death to weight-loss surgery or not, was 1.9%. The 10-year mortality rate was 3.34%, only 1% of this number was due to causes related to surgery.

If this result is not enough for your research, you can take a look at one of the longest studies that examined bariatric patients; this is a 23-year study that explores the mortality and rate in patients undergoing bariatric surgery.

This study, done and published by BMC, shows even more extended results than their previous study that observed patients for 17 years after the operation.

Based on its results, surgical treatments eliminate the fatal effects of obesity. In addition, its preventive effects remain for a long time, even 23 years after the surgery.

What Factors Affect Weight Loss Surgery Fatality Rate? How to Reduce Them?

It is clear for most people why severe obesity kills: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney, liver, and heart disease, cancer, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, and so on and so forth.

But a lot of people might not know factors for mortality after bariatric surgery as they’re not so many and not very probable.

However, it is necessary for obese patients to be aware of them and any probable methods that could help reduce these factors.

Severity of Obesity

Studies that evaluated mortality risk after weight loss surgery among super obese patients mostly found higher BMIs riskier, especially in super-obese patients with BMI higher than 70.

Even though bariatric surgery is more responsive for more obese patients, their high BMI increases the risk of death as well.

So, this is exactly why losing weight before the surgery is of high importance. The more you reduce your BMI, the higher your survival rate will be.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

There is not only one single type of weight-loss surgery, which makes making the right choice even more challenging for patients.

Two of the most popular bariatric procedures are gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery. Even though the ultimate goal of both of them is fast, sustained weight loss, they’re different in their procedures and other areas as well. Therefore, you must have enough information about both of them in order to be able to compare gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures.

One of the risk factors that require indispensable analysis is their surgical mortality rate.

Researches that delve into the safety of gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery, have estimated an 0.8% probability as the 30-day mortality rate of gastric sleeve and 0.14 for gastric bypass.

So, if you’ve thoroughly analyzed both of these procedures and still find gastric sleeve right for your situation, just go with it as it is in most cases the safer one.

Cardiovascular Causes

Cardiovascular causes are one of the most frequent reasons for mortality among bariatric patients.

The American Heart Association‘s guidelines suggest some necessary pre-surgery actions, including chest X-rays.

If you have morbid obesity and after consultation and check-ups, your doctor still recognizes you as a high-risk patient, you can always think about ways of non-surgical effective treatment for obesity.

Also, if they suggest that you postpone the time of surgery so that you can be more prepared and less of a risky patient, just put your trust in this plan and stick to it.

Regular Follow-ups, a Practical Solution to Reduce Post-Surgery Risks

A number of complications after bariatric surgery are solvable in case of regular follow-ups after the surgery. These risks include hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and psychological problems like depression and suicidal thoughts.

Before the surgery make sure whether it is possible to have sufficient follow-ups of both your physical and mental situation in the clinic or any institution you are going to have the surgery at.

Surgical procedures better be performed in institutions with adequate follow-ups of superobese patients’ overall circumstances in addition to the best practices in bariatric surgery.

Bariatric Surgery Is Becoming Safer

According to a study that looked into the rates and causes of death after bariatric surgery among Pennsylvania residents from 1995 to 2004, the death rate in the follow-up decreased from 13% in 1995 to 7% in 2004. And the number might be even less right now.

The trends and progress of weight loss surgery, in addition to the enhanced expertise of surgeons, caused improvement in the safety of bariatric procedures.

So, when choosing your surgeon, be careful to choose a proficient one.

A Word to the Wise

The more accurate your pre-surgery tests are, the more aware your surgeon will be of your physical and mental conditions, hence helping you even better. So, please do not resist these tests and take them patiently.

If you’re told that you have to lose some weight before the surgery, take your time and listen to your doctor’s advice/

Also, educate yourself and your family about the surgery. Nothing can put you in danger more than lack of knowledge.

Finally, start your healthy lifestyle even before the operation. Work on your mind and your body. The more prepared you are, the better the results will be.

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