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Beware of “Fad” Bariatric Surgery

Millions of individuals in the United States suffer from Severe Obesity, a complex, multi-factorial metabolic disease, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater; which is often accompanied by several health problems (comorbidities), like High Blood Pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, High Cholesterol, and many others. For this disease, non-surgical treatment measures, like dieting, are rarely successful in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. By far, the most successful treatment for the disease of Severe Obesity is bariatric surgery. However, the choice of operation is as important as the decision to have surgery.

As is the case with most diseases, some treatments are more successful than others and some treatments are better suited for a particular individual patient’s health needs than others. Such is the case with bariatric surgery also, where some bariatric operations are more successful and serve the patient’s specific, individual health needs better than others. However, with bariatric surgery, there tend to exist misconceptions and misinformation about the effectiveness, applicability, and safety of the various operations. Furthermore, the latest operation or the simplest, or “least invasive”, operation is often considered, by the lay public, to be the best; when, in fact, the opposite is usually the case. This is a kind of “fad” bariatric surgery trend.

It is, therefore, the bariatric surgeon’s job to properly inform patients honestly and thoroughly about the advantages and disadvantages of each of the various surgical options and guide them to the treatment that is best suited for their weight and individual health needs. Unfortunately, such is not the case with many bariatric surgeons, who recommend operations for other, self-serving reasons.

Stay tuned for follow-up blog posts that discuss these “fad” procedures and how to know what bariatric operation is right for you.