Medical Weight Loss vs. Surgical Weight Loss

Obesity is estimated to affect 37.1% of the male geriatric population and 33.6% of the female geriatric population [1]. You’re at high risk of being obese if you consume more calories than your body can actually burn. Many people consider losing weight quite troublesome, but now, losing weight has become quite easy with many weight loss programs.

What Is Obesity & What Are Its Health Consequences?

Excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat due to unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits is called obesity. People with a BMI of more than 25 are considered obese. You become more susceptible to severe health complications when you start eating more “bad” fat than “good” fat.

Obesity carries many complications with it, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  •  High blood pressure
  •  Osteoarthritis – stiffness, and pain in joints
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Complications in pregnancy like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes
  •  Sleep apnea
  • Metabolic syndrome [2]

Obesity also causes difficulties with daily activities, such as:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Less self-confidence
  • Feeling isolated
  • Difficulty physical activity
  • Breathlessness
  • Lower back pain
  • SnoringFeeling very tired
  • Increased sweating

Healthy Lifestyle Options For Losing Weight:

Many obese people aim to lose weight but end up gaining more weight because of a lack of sustainable habits, restrictive diets, and wrong mindsets. The following are some healthy lifestyle habits to lose weight fast:

  • Exercising regularly (exercise increases metabolism and burns off extra calories)
  • Eating lots of lean proteins (Proteins make you full and reduce appetite).
  • Never skipping breakfast
  • Watching your portion sizes
  • Lifting weights
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Staying hydrated
  • Controlling stress levels

Different Weight Loss Options:

Typically, there are two types of weight loss options: medical weight loss and surgical weight loss. Let’s have a look at each of them.

1. Medical Weight Loss:

A medically-managed weight loss program includes losing weight in a healthy way with the guidance and help of a healthcare professional. Medical weight loss plans include:

  • Initial consultation with your doctor
  • Weight loss medications for obesity-related conditions
  • Nutritional counseling, including personalized diets.
  • Exercise
  • Emotional support
  • Lifestyle modification

2. Surgical Weight Loss:

If medical options, exercise, and diet don’t work, you might be a good candidate for surgical weight loss (bariatric surgery). Surgical weight loss refers to the surgical removal of fat from the target area. Different types of surgical weight loss include:

  • Gastric bypass 
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Duodenal switch 

Medical Weight Loss vs. Surgical Weight Loss:

Whether you choose medical weight loss or surgical weight loss, both procedures require complete dedication to maintain weight loss for the long term. The results of medical weight loss programs vary from person to person because they’re tailored to the individual. Surgical weight loss is considered more effective than medical weight loss programs because of physical restrictions on the body and reliable results. After surgical weight loss, patients can lose up to 40% of excess body weight in six months [3, 4].

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), patients undergoing surgical weight loss have a reduced risk of developing obesity-related complications, among which 50% have a reduced risk of dying from heart disease, 90% are less likely to die from diabetes, and 60% are at reduced risk of having cancer [5].


Since many health risks accompany obesity, it is crucial to control your weight to avoid further complications. Medical and surgical weight loss are two effective methods for losing excess weight. Taking care of your diet and engaging in physical activity are necessary lifestyle modifications to maintain a healthy weight after surgery. 


  1. Malenfant JH, Batsis JA. Obesity y in the geriatric population – a global health perspective, e. J Glob Heal Reports 2019;3.
  2. The GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators. Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years. N Engl J Med 2017;377:13–27.
  3. Busko M. Diet and Lifestyle vs Surgery for Obesity: Both May Work 2013.
  4. Jakobsen GS, Småstuen MC, Sandbu R, Nordstrand N, Hofsø D, Lindberg M, et al. Association of bariatric surgery vs medical obesity treatment with long-term medical complications and obesity-related comorbidities. JAMA – J Am Med Assoc 2018;319:291–301.
  5. VARMA S, BROWN T, CLARK J, MARUTHUR N, SCHWEITZER M, MAGNUSON T, et al. Comparative Effects of Medical vs. Surgical Weight Loss on Body Composition in a Randomized Trial. Diabetes 2018;67:2460-PUB.