Bariatric Surgery Saves Lives

Theresa Farina had lap band surgery a little more than two years ago. One hundred pounds lighter she says before the procedure she literally was in a world of hurt.

"You go oh my god, I can't walk, I am out of breath, I can't keep up with my family members. But it never questioned my mind: Death."

But, Farina says the surgery has been a lifesaver, and according to two new studies that's the case with a majority of obese patients who decide to go under the knife.

The seven year studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine show deaths from diabetes, cancer and heart disease were reduced between 56-92-percent in patients who had bariatric surgery. Compared to those who did not.

Dr Robert Watson a Bariatric Surgeon with Western Bariatric says these studies reaffirm what physicians have already suspected.

" The chief reason for reducing weight and getting rid of morbid obesity is improved health period. Now we can point to longevity. That has been the focus of the medical community from the get go."

Dr. Watson says this study may help convince insurance companies who do not currently pay for the surgery to re-examine their policies. And as far as public perception goes, with issues like life expectancy, diabetes and high blood pressure it should no longer be considered a cosmetic procedure.

Farina says what the study does not address, the responsibilty on the part of the patient.

" But it is not a quick fix, it is not a quick fix Terri, wholeheartedly, you have to change your eating habits and you have to keep with the exercise."