Author Aleisha Green: Waco Clinical Coordinator
Deciphering Bariatric Surgery Myths
Myth: Bariatric surgery is the “Easy Way Out” or “Quick Fix” for weight loss.
Surgical weight loss is a tool, to help the morbidly obese develop a healthier lifestyle. It takes a lifelong commitment to be successful with the weight loss and also to keep the weight off. Eating habits, vitamins, along with exercise are crucial for success and to prevent weight regain.
Myth: Obese and Morbidly obese people are lazy.
In 2014 obesity became recognized as a disease just like diabetes, congestive heart failure, and hypertension. What our society doesn’t understand is that some obese patients are obese due to medications that they are taking, or due to an injury that prevents them from exercising. Also chronic pain with an injury, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis can prevent someone from exercise. Most obese people have tried numerous diets and were unsuccessful at long term weight loss. This has led to discrimination, scrutiny, and judgement from our society and also causes depression and low self-esteem.
Myth: Follow up care is NOT Necessary.
Follow up care is critical for the first year. These appointments help you as the patient make the correct life changes for you to be successful. Meeting with the dietician to make sure you are getting the vitamins and protein needed for your body to be healthy. Meeting with the exercise specialist to make sure you are losing the fat but not the muscle, for healthy tips on what exercise will help your body habitus. Also very important is meeting with the physician to follow up with lab work and also to check on any medication issues and also resolved medical issues and check your overall progress. Some patients at times may need to see a counselor to help adjust to life changes with family, friends or even a spouse. These changes will take up to a year or more so this is why the 3, 6, and 12 month follow up appointments are so important for your success. After that a yearly appointment to check your progress and ensure your still on track is adequate.
Fact: Weight loss surgery can improve and sometimes even resolve type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes goes away in some people who have the surgery. Others the surgery lowers blood sugar and this prevents prediabetes from worsening , and in some it eliminates the need for medications or drastically reduces the amount needed.
Fact: For some people, life is better after the surgery, and others have unexpected challenges.
Some people improve their quality of life after surgery due to more energy and other health benefits and increased self-esteem due to feeling better about their bodies. But this doesn’t always happen some are saddened because life after surgery isn’t what they expected. After the weight is lost the relationships may not be any different. Surgery doesn’t make poor choices, bad habits, feelings, and attitudes change or go away.
Fact: Not everyone is a candidate for bariatric surgery.
Patients must meet a specific BMI and surgery candidates must be committed to long-term follow-up care and be motivated to maintain healthy habits for long term success after surgery. Also, people can’t have any physical or mental health problems that would make surgery too risky.