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September 11, 2021 In bariatric surgery, weight loss By Dr. Vikas Singhal

Top Myths & Facts About Bariatric (Weight Loss) Surgery

According to statistics, close to 300,000 people underwent bariatric surgery in 2020 in the United States alone. With the rise of obesity across the world, more and more people are choosing to undergo gastric sleeve surgery to regain their desired body shape and improved health. However, despite the prevalence of this surgery worldwide, people’s thoughts are still muddled with misconceptions.

Here, we will break down those myths surrounding bariatric (weight loss) surgery fact-check them with the truth.

Table of Contents

Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye

  1. Myth – Bariatric Surgery is a quick fix for weight loss
  2. Myth – Undergoing Bariatric Surgery is very dangerous or life-threatening
  3. Myth – Only patients who are morbidly obese qualify for the surgery
  4. Myth – All types of Bariatric surgery involve ‘stomach stapling’
  5. Myth – Most patients gain back the weight quickly
  6. Myth – Weight loss surgery is the EASY way out
  7. Myth – Insurance doesn’t cover bariatric surgery
  8. Myth – You can’t get pregnant after weight loss surgery
  9. Myth – Weight loss surgery is just a cosmetic procedure
  10. Myth – You will have a visibly big scar after the surgery
  11. Myth – Bariatric surgery enhances the suicide risks
  12. Myth – The surgery prevents you from eating your favorite meals
  13. Myth – Bariatric Surgery is a quick fix for weight loss

Many people have this misconception that undergoing weight loss surgery is the only permanent fix for permanent weight reduction. However, the reality is that these procedures are done on morbidly obese patients to help them prolong their lifespan and lead healthier life.

These surgeries are a tool for weight loss, however they require the patient to have a lifelong commitment to eat healthy and stay active to maintain the results from the procedure. Without introducing substantial changes to one’s lifestyle, a single surgery won’t sustain the desired results over a  longer period.

  1. Myth – Undergoing Bariatric Surgery is very dangerous or life-threatening

When talking of myths about bariatric surgery, this one deserves second place. Like any other surgical procedure, even a weight loss surgery comes with its list of consequences. However, the medical advancements and availability of cutting-edge technology have refined these procedures and made them less risky than before.

Reports even suggest that patients start losing 50% of the excess weight within 6 months of the surgery, 77% by the first year,and can maintain the weight loss results up to 14 years with proper diet and lifestyle changes. This goes to show that bariatric surgery indeed has a very high success rate.

  1. Myth – Only patients who are morbidly obese qualify for the surgery

While weight loss surgery is generally a preferred choice for patients weighing over 500 lbs and more, the procedure isn’t restricted to just extremely obese patients. In fact, according to the guidelines, patients with a BMI over 35 can qualify for the surgery.

Besides that, patients with complications like hypertension, obesity-related chronic diseases, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, etc. also qualify for the procedure. You need to consult an experienced bariatric surgeon to get proper guidance about the same.

  1. Myth – All types of Bariatric surgery involve ‘stomach stapling’

When talking about bariatric surgeries, you need to know that several types of gastrointestinal interventions are done to promote weight loss in patients. Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve being some of the common ones. These procedures reduce the functioning of the stomach, reducing the gradual absorption of the calories and nutrients from the consumed food.

So, stomach stapling is not the only procedure done for weight loss surgery. The type of gastrointestinal procedure you undergo will depend on your physiology and well-being.

  1. Myth – Most patients gain back the weight quickly

Indeed, undergoing just the surgery won’t help the patient if they refuse to make lifestyle changes. However, that doesn’t mean that the surgery is done in vain. Most patients have lost up to 100 pounds in the first year after the surgery.

Even studies have found that individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery have higher rates of weight loss management in 10 years as opposed to patients who lost weight without surgery.

  1. Myth – Weight loss surgery is the EASY way out

Choosing to undergo bariatric surgery isn’t the easy way out. One of the facts about bariatric surgery is that the patients undergoing it are tired of seeing no difference after trying different weight loss strategies. Even reports suggest that an average patient considering the surgery has tried out 20+ diets to lose weight.

So, no it isn’t taking the easy way out. Undergoing the procedure means prioritizing one’s health and well-being. Even after the surgery, the patient has to make significant changes to their diet and lifestyle, which requires dedication. The primary aim behind this surgery is to help patients make long-term changes to their life.

  1. Myth – Insurance doesn’t cover bariatric surgery

The weight loss surgery cost in Gurgaon, Delhi NCR generally starts from INR 5,00,000. The amount is substantially a lot, and it is true that not every health insurance will cover the costs of this surgery as it is often considered an elective one. However, it is also true that there are insurance companies that do provide coverage or EMI facilities for the payments in India.

If you consider undergoing this surgery in the future, make sure you discuss things in detail with your insurance company, get clarifications, and only then should you make further investments. Also, consider consulting the costs and insurance with the bariatric surgeon or the hospital where you are getting the surgery done.

  1. Myth – You can’t get pregnant after weight loss surgery

This myth about bariatric surgery is contradictory, mainly because patients undergo the procedure to enhance their fertility and chances of conception. However, your surgeon will advise you to avoid getting pregnant in the first two years after the surgery.

That is necessary to ensure that the patient loses all their excess weight before they consider conceiving. A patient will likely reach the weight loss plateau within two years, following which pregnancy becomes a smooth ride.

  1. Myth – Weight loss surgery is just a cosmetic procedure

While it is true that everyone wants to look more attractive, matching society’s standard of beauty, bariatric surgery is not just a cosmetic procedure. It is done to alleviate many health complications in obese patients, including risks of cardiovascular complications and even death.

This surgery is predominantly common in patients with type-2 diabetes. Reports even suggest that over 78% of patients have gone into remission post-surgery, meaning they don’t have to rely on medications anymore. Even patients with severe heart anomalies undergo this surgery to recover quickly and reduce risks of heart attacks and strokes.

  1. Myth – You will have a visibly big scar after the surgery

Saying this a few decades before would have been true. However, medical sciences have come a long way. And, the advancements have made bariatric surgery a lot less invasive and more refined. While open surgery was the preferred choice back in the day, surgeons now opt for laparoscopic surgeries for weight loss.

This leaves the patient with minimal scarring, which fades over time. So, if you are worried about conventional scarring with the surgery, you wouldn’t have to worry anymore.

  1. Myth – Bariatric surgery enhances the suicide risks

The reason behind the prevalence of this misconception is due to misplaced information. Patients who have committed suicide after weight loss surgeries suffered from undiagnosed psychological conditions, even before the surgery.

However, this has pushed surgeons and the medical sciences to switch the approach to this surgery. To ensure that patients have a healthy life (both physically and mentally), they are evaluated before and after the surgery by a therapist. This allows the patient to understand what is about to happen and how it will eventually change their life in the future. Being prepared for the changes helps patients adjust better.

  1. Myth – The surgery prevents you from eating your favorite meals

“You won’t be able to eat your favorite meals anymore.” This is a common misconception several people have about the surgery. However, that isn’t the only truth. Yes, there might be a few restrictions to begin with, but most patients are advised to eat their normal diet post-surgery, without severe limitations.

So, the cake that you have stacked away in the fridge? Yes, you can eat it. However, patients tend to stick to healthier eating habits following the surgery. Also, gastrointestinal procedures tend to alter the amount of food a patient can eat in one sitting, affecting one’s eating habits.

Take Away

If you were looking for the myths and facts about bariatric surgery, we hope this article gives you all the inputs. Just make sure that you consult the best surgeon, have a transparent consultation, and weigh out the pros and cons before finalizing the decision. Sometimes, all you need to do is assess the facts and acclimatize your mind to the possible changes to better understand the decision you make.

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