Is surgery or medication better for weight loss?

Weight loss medications have been appearing everywhere on social media feeds and the news. With all medication, there are potential side effects; from common gastrointestinal discomforts, to more serious mental health issues.

It’s important that you find the right treatment that works for you by partnering with an experienced team of health professionals. For long term success, tailored plans specific to your weight loss goal is the key.

Short-term weight loss solutions

Diet pills and fad diets: Quick fixes like pills or fad diets aren’t the key to long-term, successful weight loss. Many pills come with hefty warnings and potential side effects, and some don’t even work. Fad diets simply don’t work physically or mentally. It is hard to maintain and weight regain is inevitable. In addition, it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.

Weight loss medications: Weight loss medications may seem to work well in the short term, however require a lifelong commitment at a price.  In addition, they do not work for everyone and are not risk free. Injectables are another form of weight loss medication and can be more effective than fad diets and pills. The medication in injectables immobilises the muscles of the stomach wall for about three months and prevents them from contracting. This keeps food in the stomach longer, slowing digestion and helping you feel fuller faster and for a longer time.

Weight loss injections may be a good option for adults who:

  • Have moderate weight loss goals such as to lose weight before an elective surgery or to assist with fertility
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 27 to 40
  • Have not had success with lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise
  • Want to jump start a healthier lifestyle
  • Want to reduce the risk of weight-related illness, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, or heart disease.

Strategic lifestyle changes are recommended like keeping a food journal, tracking daily steps, setting daily goals, and eating breakfast.

Injectable medications can help patients in the short-term as they prepare for longer-term solutions.

Evidence from clinical trial data proves that patients gain the weight back when they stop taking the injectable weight loss medications.

We can work with patients one-on-one to help them determine the best path for them to meet their long-term goals, which sometimes includes surgery, nonsurgical intervention, or both.

Long-term weight loss solutions

We are able to help guide patients with next steps after they meet some of their short-term goals. Sometimes that can include weight loss surgery or other nonsurgical options.

There are several minimally invasive and robotic-assisted weight loss options, including gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy. It just depends on the patient’s needs and risk factors to pick the right procedure for them.

Gastric bypass: This procedure does NOT remove anything; however, they do separate the stomach into a smaller section for the food intake. A new end of the intestines is attached in order to empty the food which then reconnects with the rest of the digestive juices a bit further downstream.

Sleeve gastrectomy: This procedure removes a significant portion of a patient’s stomach, reducing food intake capability. The normal stomach can hold about 2 litres of fluid, and it’s reduced to about 100 – 150 mL. A person undergoing gastric sleeve surgery has the potential to lose 50 to 80 percent of their excess body weight.

Patients should know what to expect when it comes to their options. Patients can expect to lose an estimated 10-15% of their total body weight while having a minimal impact on their comorbidities if they choose medications; whereas, patients who choose surgery can expect to lose an estimated 60-70% of their excess weight while seeing a significant impact on their comorbidities.

Whether you choose weight loss injectables or weight loss surgery, the right combination of tools and lifestyle change are essential to a successful weight loss treatment plan.

The option for weight loss that a patient chooses isn’t the only factor that determines a patient’s success. A patient has to commit to changing and living a healthier life.

A team of doctors, nurses, surgeons, dieticians, and psychologists will ensure you receive holistic care and are supported physically and emotionally. We are here for our patients throughout the entire process and take great pride in helping our patients live a healthier life and achieve their goals. Contact SIOS on (02) 8080 4644 or email

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