The Most Common Myths About Bariatric Surgery
Every year, roughly 256,000 Americans who struggle with obesity choose to undergo bariatric surgery. The most commonly performed bariatric procedure in our country is laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery.
Between 65% and 85% of people who had a bariatric procedure eventually reach their goal weight.
Undergoing bariatric surgery has plenty of benefits, the most obvious being losing weight in a safe, gradual manner if you follow the advice of your healthcare team.
It is important to keep in mind that bariatric surgery in and of itself will not magically cure obesity, as it is actually your lifestyle choices after the surgery that will help you shed the extra pounds. Bariatric surgery only provides you with a starting point.
However, even though there are a lot of studies and real-life examples supporting the effectiveness of bariatric surgery, there are still numerous people who are skeptical about how efficient it is or who are afraid of undergoing it out of fear of the myths and misconceptions they heard. This article is meant to demystify bariatric surgery by tackling five of the most common myths and misconceptions about bariatric surgery.
Hopefully, people who are good candidates for it will understand how useful bariatric surgery can be and decide to undergo the most suitable procedure for their weight problem. In addition to aiding people to get rid of their extra weight, bariatric surgery will also improve their obesity-related health problems, such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Bariatric Surgery Is Dangerous
While every surgery entails a series of risks, bariatric surgery is no more dangerous than undergoing surgery for a fracture or for a ruptured appendix. By virtue of the state-of-the-art medical technology, it can be performed with, bariatric surgery can even be minimally invasive for patients eligible for these procedures. It can be performed laparoscopically or with the help of the innovative and cutting-edge da Vinci Surgical System, a robotic surgical system whose arms are controlled with utmost care and precision by the surgeon from a console.
Therefore, if you are considering undergoing bariatric surgery but are afraid of the risks, we encourage you to leave your fear aside and request it, as there will be a lot of benefits for you to reap after the procedure.
I Will Gain Back the Weight After Bariatric Surgery
Following bariatric surgery, you can lose between 50 and 100 pounds during the first year. According to studies, people who underwent a bariatric procedure kept the weight off 10 years later, which proves that, for the majority of people, bariatric surgery is successful and helpful in losing the extra weight.
Nevertheless, losing weight after bariatric surgery is a true commitment, as you will have to change your lifestyle radically to achieve your weight goal. You will only be allowed to eat certain foods in specific amounts, according to the meal plan made for you by your nutritionist, whom you will have to visit monthly. To promote more rapid weight loss, you will probably have to begin working out as well. Ultimately, if you follow the advice of your healthcare team, you are bound to lose weight, so there is no cause for concern in this respect.
Bariatric Surgery Leads to Infertility in Women
This myth stems perhaps from the fact that women who undergo bariatric surgery should not become pregnant during the first 2 years following the procedure, as it would be counterintuitive since pregnancy leads to weight gain, which they are trying to avoid. Nonetheless, bariatric surgery does not affect fertility in any way. On the contrary – the more weight you lose, the more likely you are to become pregnant, as obesity was found to hinder fertility in women.
Consequently, several years after your bariatric surgery, you will be able to carry a child if your healthcare team also agrees with your decision. The expert opinion of your healthcare team, which will be comprised of a nutritionist, bariatric surgeon, counselor, and other specialists, is very important, and you should consider it, as the time you choose to become pregnant might not be ideal for your weight loss journey.
Losing Weight Is About Diet and Exercise, Bariatric Surgery Is Unnecessary
Although this might be true for people who are overweight or slightly obese, individuals who are extremely obese are unable to go on a diet or to exercise out of safety and health reasons. Going on a diet suddenly when they have been used to eating food with little nutritional value might have negative consequences on their health and might be perceived as a shock by their bodies, which could trigger serious health complications.
Furthermore, if they have had this lifestyle for years or even decades, they will be less motivated by seeing a slow weight loss progress and very likely to gain back the little weight they lost. Therefore, bariatric surgery may seem like a beacon of hope for extremely obese people, as it will restart their bodies, so to speak, substantially shrinking their stomachs so that they can no longer overeat.
Bariatric Surgery Will Prevent Me from Getting the Nutrition I Need
It is true that most patients will have to take dietary supplements following their bariatric surgery, as the procedure might inhibit the proper absorption of vitamins and minerals. However, if you follow your nutritionist’s advice regarding meal planning, you can enjoy a nutritionally balanced diet.
In most cases, your overall health and wellbeing will dramatically improve after undergoing bariatric surgery. It is important to note that some bariatric procedures do not affect the way the body absorbs vitamins and minerals, so it is best to ask your doctor about this issue, but they will most likely tell you whether you will need dietary supplements before the surgery. Lastly, follow-up care will include regular testing of your vitamin and mineral levels, so any deficiencies will be quickly addressed.
We hope that debunking these five myths and misconceptions about bariatric surgery has shed more light on these procedures for you and that you are now more willing to accept it as a viable option if you struggle with obesity. The bariatric surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital have years of experience in performing the procedure you need and have probably carried it out successfully hundreds of times before.