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How has weight loss surgery advanced?

Weight loss surgery has advanced in a number of ways. Many years ago, weight loss surgery was done through an open incision, and typically people were in the hospital for five to seven days. Rates of wound infection were higher than they are at present. Nowadays these types of surgeries are done through smaller incisions and therefore, just recovering from the surgery itself happens much more quickly. People are getting back to work more rapidly, and they have less pain associated with the surgery. That's probably been the main advance in how weight loss surgery has been done.

In addition to that, there are constant improvements in stapling technology and instrumentation so there is lower and lower risk of complications with the surgery. That, together with more in-depth education prior to the surgery, and support after the surgery, leads to improved outcomes.

Weight loss surgery has advanced with the use of minimally invasive procedures. Today most weight loss surgeries are performed as minimally invasive procedures, meaning small incisions, faster recovery and the ability to return to work sooner. Insurance companies are now realizing the benefits of the surgery outweigh the cost. Potentially a person could no longer need medication associated with diabetes and blood pressure. Weight loss surgery is much safer than decades ago with mortality and complication rates far less than many other procedures.

Weight loss surgery has advanced significantly with laparoscopic surgery. Nearly all weight loss surgery is now performed laparoscopically or with minimally invasive techniques. This translates to smaller incisions, less pain, shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. Advances in endoscopy and interventional radiology have also improved the way complications are treated. Though rare, complications, like leaks and strictures, can almost entirely be managed without another surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.