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Gastric bypass surgery is now much safer

The Washington Post recently detailed new findings showing that the safety of gastric bypass surgery has been improved immensely.  A decade ago the morbidity and mortality figures associated with gastric bypass surgery made it questionable whether the surgery was worthwhile--despite the known dangers of morbid obesity.  New safety results at major hospitals show, however, that fewer than five percent of patients now suffer major complications.  The results are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Generally, the surgery is recommended for persons with a body mass index over 40, or over 35 if obesity is combined with another significant health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure.  Last year the surgery was performed nearly a quarter million times in the U.S.  Death, serious complications or the need for additional surgery ocurred in one percent of patients whose stomachs were banded, almost five percent of patients having laparoscopic bypass and almost eight percent of those given a bypass by traditional surgical means.

Clearly, where possible, gastric bypass patients should select a surgeon who performs banding or laparscopic bypass at an institution that performs hundreds of the procedures each year.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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