7 Benefits Beyond Weight Loss


90% – that’s the proportion of people with diabetes who are overweight or obese. Every 5 minutes, someone is newly diagnosed with diabetes according to Diabetes Australia. It forms a significant proportion of the health problems we face in Australia. A study published in the Annals of Surgery in 2011 showed that diabetes improves in more than 80% of patients having gastric bypass surgery and about 60% of those having sleeve gastrectomy. It is not uncommon for patients to come off insulin before they are discharged home from the hospital following their weight loss surgery!


Sleep Apnoea

This is a serious condition, which is more common than asthma! 1 in 4 men over the age of 30 have some degree of sleep apnoea. Typically, the person stops breathing (apnoea) for a few seconds (it can be longer) during their sleep. The brain is starved of oxygen and signals the body to wake up. In most cases, patients would snort or gasp and fall right back to sleep. This can happen hundreds of times during sleep leading to poor quality sleep and rest. The person can be tired during the day and lethargic as a result. With bariatric surgery, this can improve by 80%. From a study published in Obesity Surgery in 2013, gastric bypass is the most effective procedure, the gastric band the least.


Fatty Liver Disease

The liver is our body’s toxin processing plant. It also functions as a storage facility for complex sugar and fat. A healthy liver contains minimal amounts of liver and is soft with sharp edges. A fatty liver is heavy and stiff with rounded edges and a mottled appearance. Alcohol is one cause of fatty liver. Obesity in itself gives rise to the more common non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – NAFLD. If left unchecked, this can progress to reversible scarring called fibrosis. Fibrosis if not stopped, can progress to cirrhosis – non-reversible scarring and potentially liver cancer. 50-80% improve with obesity surgery.

High Blood Pressure

A fairly common health problem in modern society. There are probably more people you know who are on blood pressure-lowering medications than not. 70-80% improve with surgery. Both gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy result in improvements.


70% of women who have not been able to conceive previously, can do so after surgery. This improvement in fertility does lead to unplanned pregnancies. We recommend using contraception in the first 12-18 months after surgery for the body to adjust to the impact of surgery and for the nutritional status to stabilise. In men, obesity does cause reduced sperm concentration but its impact on fertility is unclear at present.


The well-known Swedish Obese Subjects Study has published multiple papers on the increased risk of cancer due to obesity and the benefits of weight loss in reducing the risk. In comparison to healthy weight subjects, obese people have twice the risk of getting colon, stomach or liver cancer and three to four times the risk of getting endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the womb).

Quality of life

Lastly, patient’s self-esteem, sexual function and mobility amongst other things improve. This allows them to achieve a better life in a more holistic sense after weight loss surgery.