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Studies Weigh Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery

Long-Term Benefits of Gastric Bypass Surgery Seem to Outweigh Short-term Risks

Choose Your Surgeon Wisely

Klein says the results of these studies confirm that gastric bypass surgery is a complicated procedure that comes with a certain degree of risk that should not be taken lightly.

Flum's study shows that there is a learning curve for surgeons who perform gastric bypass surgery. But Klein says once surgeons have gained experience and performed more than 20 procedures, the short-term risk of death is much lower and closer to 0.5%, as reported in previous studies, than the 1.9% found in this study.

"This is a lesson for people who are considering the operation to really go with a surgeon who has a track record and experience and have it done at centers that have experience with doing the operation," Klein tells WebMD. "There is an initial risk of increased death from the operation, which seems to be much higher in inexperienced surgical hands than experienced surgical hands."

In addition, Klein says reducing the risk of death may not be the most important benefit of gastric bypass surgery. Previous studies have shown that gastric bypass surgery can reduce and prevent obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and improve the quality of life for people who are morbidly obese.

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