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10 Misconceptions About Bariatric Surgery

Dr. Muffi    12/1/2019   |   Saturday

With the increasing rates of obesity around the globe, this medical condition has become an epidemic now, and bariatric surgery poses as the best solution to combat obesity. However, we cannot generalize a weight loss surgery to all obese patients because the physiological conditions of everyone differ. Being a surgical intervention to overcome obesity, there are several misconceptions that revolve around obesity surgery. But not everything you hear is true. In an attempt to separate fact from fiction, below is a list of some of the common misconceptions that prevent obese patients from proceeding with Bariatric Surgery

Myth 1: Bariatric surgery is an extremely risky procedure.

Fact: Any surgical procedure has some potential risks and complications associated with it. But with recent technological and medical advancements in the field of obesity surgery, various bariatric surgery side effects have been minimized. Also, it is very important to choose your surgeon wisely, Bariatric surgery done from an accredited surgeon / center reduces the risk drastically. However, as a thumb rule, you should always discuss with your surgeon about the risks and benefits associated with each procedure.

Myth 2: Weight loss is the sole benefit of obesity surgery.

Fact: Even though bariatric surgery plays a significant role in reducing weight, it also helps in improving other health conditions faced by obese patients, including diabetes, sleep apnea, dyslipidemia acid reflux, etc. Infact a huge number of surgeries are being done for remission of Diabetes. Bariatric surgery that is done primarily to treat diseases such diabetes, dyslipidemia or sleep apnea is called Metabolic Surgery.

Myth 3: Weight loss surgery is listed under cosmetic surgery and hence it does not carry an insurance coverage.

Fact: This is a myth that does not hold true in the present. These days, many insurance companies cover surgical weight loss procedures. Which is why you should have a detailed discussion with your insurance provider and your surgeon to determine what aspect of the procedure can be covered under insurance.

Myth 4: Undergoing obesity surgery is a waste of time because you can regain weight in the future.

Fact: Several researches have concluded that patients who have undergone bariatric surgery lose more weight in comparison to people who choose conventional weight loss methods. However, weight loss surgery is not a miracle procedure to lose weight. You must strictly adhere to the diet and exercise regime as instructed by your surgeon to maintain your reduced weight in the long run. Weight regain also largely depends on the type of procedure, it is important to discuss in detail with your surgeon the type of procedure that is best suited for you as an individual, as there is no one procedure that fits all. 

Myth 5: You can eat to your heart’s content post the surgery.

Fact: Though every bariatric patient may wish this myth was true, unfortunately, it isn’t. Bariatric surgery helps you reduce your meal portions in a systematic and healthy manner. It also reduces your appetite and increases satiety, therefore keeping you satisfied with small portions. In fact, patients must strictly adhere to a pre-operative and post-operative diet during their bariatric journey. The whole purpose of the surgery is to help you learn to make healthier food choices and to eat for enough energy.

Myth 6: Stomach stapling is a fixed procedure in all obesity surgeries.

Fact: There are different types of bariatric surgeries tailored to the specific needs of patients. While some procedures involve stomach stapling, others, such as gastric bypass surgery involve bypassing some parts of the small intestine in addition to reducing the stomach size.

Myth 7: You need to undergo plastic surgery after bariatric surgery.

Fact: Not all patients that undergo Bariatric Surgery require plastic / cosmetic surgery. Super obese patients that lose 40 -50 kgs or more may require plastic surgery for loose skin. However, this should only be considered 2 years after bariatric surgery once weight loss stabilizes. Most patients that indulge in regular physical activity after surgery rarely require any cosmetic / plastic surgery. In terms of scarring post bariatric surgery, these days, most bariatric surgeries are minimally invasive done via 4-5 tiny incisions Bariatric surgery can also be done scarless (via the belly button) leaving no scars at all.

Myth 8: Bariatric surgery will prevent pregnancy.

Fact: All females undergoing bariatric surgery are advised to wait for a year after surgery to conceive / plan a pregnancy only because it could interfere with their weight loss agenda and affect the overall nutritional status of mother and child. Post 1 year of surgery pregnancy is normal with no side effects. The surgery will not affect their ability to conceive or to carry the baby or even during childbirth. On the contrary, obesity itself can lead to infertility in both men and women.

Myth 9: Obesity surgery is for fat reduction.

Fact: Surgeries like liposuction and abdominoplasty are fat reduction surgeries that cannot be done on the whole body. Bariatric surgery is done to limit your food intake so that you can lose weight and maintain it in a healthy manner.

Myth 10: Weight loss surgery entails a long recovery time.

Fact: With the inclusion of laparoscopic technology in bariatric surgery, patients need to stay in the hospital only for a night or two and they can even resume solid diet after 4 weeks of the surgery.

Bariatric surgery is a solution to not only help obese individuals combat weight gain issues, but to also reduce the risks of several life-threatening conditions, including heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. It is a procedure not just to reduce weight but to instill the habit of a healthier lifestyle.


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