10 Interesting Facts About Weight Loss Surgery*

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1. The cost of obese society. In the UK 26.1 % of adults are obese and this number is growing each year. One of the problems associated with overweight is the increase in medical expenditures. In the UK it reaches 2.3 billion pounds. It is expected that in 2050 this number will be three times higher. By introducing health programmes which might be helpful to decrease the prevalence of obesity we can reduce expenses and collect significant amounts of money which can be used for other purposes.

2. The youngest patient. The youngest patient who had weight loss surgery was a 12-year-old girl. It may sound extreme, but in some cases it is the only way to treat obesity and comorbidities which are likely to develop as the overweight is progressing to adulthood. You may ask whether it is not interfering with maturation. Usually, obese children mature in younger age as the hormones associated with the enhancement of such processes are produced in the fat tissue. The main factors used to evaluate maturity are menarche (the first period for girls), height and bone density. If a child matches the criteria it, weight loss surgery will not interfere with natural ageing.

3. Different types of weight loss surgeries. There are two groups of weight loss surgery – restrictive and restrictive/malabsorptive procedures. The aim of restrictive surgeries is to decrease the size of the stomach. It results in significantly reduced food intake as it becomes physically impossible to overeat, and slower digestion. Gastric band and gastric sleeve are the examples of restrictive surgery. On the other hand, restrictive/malabsorptive surgeries have a double effect.  In addition to shortening the gastrointestinal tract, it reduces the amount of food which can be absorbed. As such surgeries have the greatest effect on weight loss today, it is the top choice for patients. Besides, restrictive/malabsorptive procedures are known as gastric bypass.

4. Most obese country in the world. You might assume that the most obese country is the USA. But you are wrong here, the first place belongs to Nauru (an island in South Pacific) where 94.5 % of population is overweight. While in the USA 30 % of people have a BMI higher than 30. Mexico and the United Kingdom are also among the most obese countries. The least obese countries are Japan and South Korea. Increasing prevalence of obesity can be explained by the culturally different beauty conceptions. Compared with 1970 today the average weight is 20 kilograms higher.

5. What is the effect of the surgery? It is the main question that patient wants to find the answer to. Gastric bypass surgery is considered to have the most significant effect on obese people, as more than 60 % of excess weight is lost in first year following the procedure. Although the data for long-term results is yet insufficient, after 5 years excessive weight loss reaches 75 %. Of course, other weight loss surgeries are beneficial as well. The adjustable gastric band shows results more gradually, but in two years you might lose 50-60 % of excessive mass, after gastric sleeve more than 40 %.

6. Celebrities who had weight loss surgeries. Although celebrities look stunning on TV shows or magazines, it does not mean that they were born this way. Sharon Osbourne, Randy Jackson, “The help” starlet Octavia Spencer and others took the opportunity to improve their external features by performing gastric bypass surgery. The results were significant, over 50 kilograms lost without exhaustive diets. However, a healthy diet is very important. For instance, the high-calorie food lover Octavia Spencer lost 2 times less.

7. 25 weight loss surgeries per hour. The newest data concerning bariatric surgery shows that in 2008 nearly 350,000 weight loss surgeries were performed worldwide. There was an increase in numbers of all types of surgeries except biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. As much as 90 % of the surgeries were performed laparoscopically – a minimally invasive method. The most popular types of bariatric surgery are gastric bypass and gastric banding. In the USA/Canada 25 weight loss surgeries are performed each hour, in Europe this number is 7,6, in Asian countries 1,5.

8. The history of obesity surgery. There is no data about the need to treat obesity in ancient times. The reason is healthy eating habits and high prevalence of parasites which consumed extra calories as well as food reserves. The first attempts to perform weight loss surgery were described in the ancient Greece. The patient was a tyrant, extravagant man named Dionysius. As the source implies the origin of obesity was lifestyle habits, which were treated by applying long needles through hips and belly. In 1954 the traditional weight loss surgeries were introduced marking a change in obesity treatment.

9. Price differences worldwide. A part of obese patients struggle to lose weight by keeping up with various diets and exercising because they cannot afford the surgery. The price for weight loss surgery in the USA ranges from 35,000 to 53,000 euro, in the UK 12,000 to 28,000euro. What is more, the cost of bariatric surgeries in Mexico, Thailand or Eastern Europe is 60-70 % lower and ranges from 5,000 to 6,500 euro.

10.The biggest weight loss after surgery. Paul Mason was one of the heaviest men in the world. He weighted over 450 kilograms before the decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Today he says that it was the only option to survive. Paul had breathing difficulties while sleeping, consumed huge amounts of food and eventually he was in need of someone to look after the entire time. After the bariatric surgery Paul had lost almost 130 kilograms and it is not yet the finish line.