Weight-Loss Surgery Helps with More Than Weight Loss


Extra weight puts you at extra risk of serious health problems. And a bariatric surgeon at St. Elizabeth says the longer you carry more than 100 extra pounds, the more health risks you face. Dr. Ryan Moon, Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center, says that patients who have bariatric surgery quickly reap health benefits beyond the weight loss itself.

With bariatric surgery, most patients see an improvement of health conditions, or they may completely resolve after surgery. For example, up to 80 percent of patients with diabetes are in remission within one year after surgery. Nearly 70 percent of patients with high blood pressure are in remission as well. This means potentially no requirements for medications to treat these chronic diseases.

Dr. Moon points out, “The amount of time it would take a person with morbid obesity to lose enough weight to be in a healthy range without surgery, combined with the amount of time they would likely stay in that range, has long-term effects on their overall health.”

Research shows diet and exercise alone are not an effective long-term solution for people with morbid obesity, which is defined as 100 pounds over ideal body weight or a BMI over 40.

Health Risks of Obesity vs. Risks of Surgery

Dr. Moon suggests a person considering surgery should ask themselves, “Is the time you spend in a state of morbid obesity a greater risk to your health than the risks associated with surgery?”

Research shows morbid obesity puts you at risk for these serious conditions and diseases:

  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Depression
  • Fatty liver disease
  • GERD
  • Gout
  • Migraines
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Mortality (death)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Urinary incontinence

Patients with a BMI over 40, or over 35 with other obesity-related health conditions, generally qualify for weight-loss surgery. With the advancements made in weight-loss surgery, the risks of surgery are minimal. And the long-term health benefits are significant.

Most weight-loss surgeries are minimally invasive procedures, which means quicker recovery, less pain and lower risk of infection and complications. At St. Elizabeth, that includes robotic surgery options.

Dr. Moon says, “More than 95 percent of our patients report an improved quality of life after surgery. But this isn’t an easy path to weight loss. Weight-loss surgery is a life-long commitment—surgery just helps your body reset to a new way of eating and processing food. The metabolic or chemical changes that occur make surgery a very powerful tool.”

I Am Considering Weight-Loss Surgery—What’s Next?

Dr. Moon suggests you do as much research as possible while you are making your decision. There are online support groups, such as obesityhelp.com, or you can go to a local support group. It may also be helpful to connect with a person who has had surgery and talk to them about the procedure and life after surgery.

Dr. Moon advises, “The more educated you are about the procedure, the higher chance you have of success after surgery.”

To learn more about weight-loss surgery at St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center, visit stedocs.com/weightmanagement, watch the online patient education session or attend an in-person patient education session. You may also call 859-212-4625 (GOAL).