Bariatric Surgery – Not My Recommendation

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I think Lap Banding and Stomach bypass procedures are expensive surgical procedures for an elite few and the procedures have significant risks in the short and long term. Bariatric surgery is not a sustainable option for the wider society. There is a better option by taking control of your diet and lifestyle.


For every success of Bariatric surgery I see a failure. I regularly see people who have had the surgery but have reverted to their old weights and habits.  You can still get call calories in a liquefied form. Sure there are the success stories touted in the media and even by surgeons.


Bariatric procedures involve surgery to the upper stomach where constricting devices are inserted or parts of the stomach are excised. These are essentially permanent procedures with permanent changes to your eating technique. Even when the balloons are let down then eating is not normal.


The recent Obesity Guidelines published by the NHMRC a few weeks ago recommend Bariatric Surgery for individuals with a BMI greater than 40 or BMI greater than 35 with comorbidities.


This operation is becoming LESS popular over the last few years. The Australian MBS item numbers in the graph over nearly 20 years reflect this (Black line in graph). There is a DECREASING incidence of this procedure in Australia over the last 4 years despite an increasing obesity problem.


There are an INCREASING number of REVISION procedures when looking at the MBS item numbers (Red line). This may be for reversals or valve balloon issues. Either way revisions are mostly done for problems with the initial procedure.


Surgical complications in these patients are significant and are related to the surgery, the patient size and other health issues. Obese patients are more difficult to operate on – simple fact.


The complications acutely include Excessive bleeding,  Infection,  Adverse reactions to anaesthesia, Blood clots, Lung or breathing problems, Leaks in the gastrointestinal system and Death (rare).


Longer term problems include Bowel obstruction, Dumping syndrome, causing diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, Gallstones, Hernias, Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), Malnutrition, Stomach perforation, Ulcers and Death (rare). These are taken from the Mayo Clinic website.


The surgery is not without its problems with a lifelong dependency on altered eating habits. That may not be a bad thing but I would prefer that everyone should have a trial of no sugar first. The problems include reflux and discoordinate eating.


Australian and Tasmanian Obesity is estimated to be increasing by 1% per annum


By my calculations if we were to turn every public hospital operating theatre into doing just Bariatric surgery every day of the week then we would only just keep pace with the number of new cases every year in Tasmania. This is not an option. Every year we are going backwards, let alone managing to make any inroads into the number who already need the surgery.


The NMMRC guidelines are not achievable. The only way to curb our obesity pandemic is to look at our diet and lifestyle. You know I believe it comes down to too much Fructose and Polyunsaturated Oils and Fats with the added insult from refined flours and carbohydrates.


So before you think about a radical and expensive surgical procedure with its incumbent short and long term complications think hard about really looking at your diet and changing it. It may very well save your life without the risks of surgery. Same goes for someone you know who might be considering the surgery.


NoFructose is easier than you think and costs nothing with no side effects apart from coming off the sugar fix and realising how much you want that sweet hit. It passes before you know it and you will feel the benefits of taking control of your future.