According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the number of surgeries in the United States has increased from 13,000 to 200,000. However new research shows that while surgery makes people happy, it can also cause problems.
Karen Synne Groven from The University of Oslo interviewed 22 different women aged 24 to 54 in her doctoral thesis. All of the women she talked to have had the weight loss surgery procedure, gastric bypass. This procedure reroutes the small intestine past the stomach in order to reduce the amount of food consumed. It also helps to promote satiety and to suppress hunger. Most of these women were actually interviewed twice, the first time a year after their surgery and the second 2 ½ to 4 years following surgery.
She found that previous research shows that weight loss surgery leads to an increased quality of life for most patients. She found that not everyone has been happy after their bariatric surgery however.
She found that yes the women enjoyed a slimmer body or “success” with their weight loss. Many of these women felt more confident and found that other people were more likely to listen to what they were saying, especially in the workplace. While these things are considered positive, they also can be seen as grief as they believe they would not have occurred unless they endured the weight loss surgical procedure.
While the weight loss is great for the women, the excess skin that resulted remained one of the most negative outcomes. Groven found that most people consider it something that can be fixed after surgery, however many women discover how it is not easily fixed and are not prepared to live with the excess skin. While yes a surgical procedure exists for this, many women are not willing to take the risks associated with this procedure include risk of miscarriage, infection and hematomas.
Of the women who were interviewed, 5 reported a lower quality of life after surgery. This was because of the development of intestine or chronic stomach as well as scar tissue. These five women felt lack of energy after their procedure.
Ultimately most of the women believe that they wouldn’t change their choice regarding having the surgery. Groven found that many of these women were influenced by society’s perception of what the female body should look like. Ultimately the message from the media is that obesity leads to higher risks of diabetes and cancer unless they lose weight.
Groven concludes that while these things can occur, little is known how much weight loss surgery can do in terms of changing their risk of developing these diseases. She plans to conduct even further researcher to look at the effects of bariatric surgery 3-10 years after other patients undergo this surgical procedure.