All You Need To Know About These Top Thirty Myths and Realities of Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure that aids in weight loss for persons who are overweight and the obese. The leading weight loss surgery types include gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass surgery, duodenal switch, gastric balloon, and more.
*Note: Not all bariatric surgeries apply to these myths and facts. These myths and facts are typically for the Gastric Sleeve Procedure, and the Gastric Bypass Procedure.
Myths and Realities about Bariatric Surgery
Myth: This surgery guarantees weight loss after recovery.
Fact: This is not true. Nothing in life is a sure fit. The surgery only increases the possibility of losing weight. It only aids in weight loss by managing hunger and creating a satiating feeling that prevents the patient from consuming excess calories. This is why it is mandatory that the patient adopt a healthy lifestyle and diet modification after the surgery. Without this, the patent is still at significant risk of gaining back all the lost weight.
Myth: You have the option of eating anything you want after the surgery, just in smaller quantities.
Fact: Modifying your lifestyle and diet is mandatory after a successful bariatric surgery. Poor health choices after the surgery will render the entire process fruitless. It is advisable that the patient sticks to a low carbohydrate and high protein diet after the surgery. Foods with high sugar content should be minimized in the diet. If the patient opts for small meal quantities, then junk food should not be included. The whole point of changing your lifestyle aims at weaning you off any food addictions. Most patients start out slow and end up getting to a healthy dietary lifestyle in the end.
Myth: The insurance company will cover the bariatric surgery.
Fact: Most insurance companies limit their involvement concerning covering bariatric surgery procedures. For example, if a person’s BMI is above forty, most insurance companies cover such persons since they do not expect the person to have any obesity-related conditions and diseases. However, for those whose BMI is between thirty-five and thirty-nine point nine, then they would only go as far as covering one obesity-related condition such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, or even high blood pressure, among others.
Myth: Vitamins are not necessary after having a sleeve gastrectomy.
Fact: You need to increase your vitamin intake post any weight loss surgery. When the body is recovering, the food nutrients become limited. Thus, the mineral and vitamin levels in the body are at their least. Moreover, the minerals and vitamins present in food tend not to be enough. Thus, nutritionist and doctors recommend that patients use multivitamins to uplift their nutrient levels. A healthy daily double dosage is recommended. When it comes to a sleeve gastrectomy, the part of the stomach responsible for the secretion of the intrinsic factor protein is removed.
This factor is responsible for the absorption of vitamin B12 by the body through its binding with the vitamin. You could supplement your vitamin B12 intake with a nasal or sublingual form of a spray. The nasal spray enters the system through the nose capillaries, while the sublingual form of spray enters the body through the tongue capillaries.
Myth: You have the option of cutting off the bariatric surgeon post surgery.
Fact: You need to visit your doctor frequently to make sure that the post-surgery healing process is successful. It is recommended that the patient visits the doctor after every two weeks for progress monitoring and diet advancements. After the patient stops this, then it is recommended that the visits become monthly. These monthly appointments motivate the patient to stay on track and maintain his or her healthy dietary and lifestyle requirements. Even if you feel like you do not need the stated motivation, you need to maintain the monthly visits for at least the first year post-surgery. Recent research has shown that the patients who continue this monthly rapport with their surgeons tend to have a higher chance of long-term success, as opposed to those who do not.
Myth: Bariatric surgery is a cure for persons struggling with weight-related issues.
Fact: Weight loss surgery is a stepping-stone to the weight loss journey. It is a mean to an end and not an end by itself. Moreover, the hard work begins before the surgery. The patient is required to subscribe to a healthy lifestyle and diet to aid in some pre-surgery weight loss. Additionally, the hard work continues after the surgery just with more exercises and diet requirements, and strict food habits.
Myth: Gaining weight after undergoing a gastric bypass is not possible.
Fact: As mentioned above, weight loss surgery is a means to an end. This means that having a wrong diet and lifestyle after the surgery will make the patient relapse to their previous weight. Thus, the patient has to secure a good health plan, visit the doctor regularly, and maintain this regimen long term.
Myth: Patents have to be three hundred pounds to qualify for bariatric surgery.
Fact: The National Institutes of Health have set guidelines concerning this surgery. These institutes recognize that persons who have a BMI of thirty or more then they are obese. This means that people who have a lower BMI than thirty are highly unlikely to be approved by the relevant health institutions. Apart from weight, these organizations also look at other medical conditions like diabetes, among others. However, they treat each case separately. Thus you will have to consult your doctor to find out if you can qualify for this surgery.
Myth: The post-surgery diet needs to be liquid solely.
Fact: This myth has some little truth to it. However, you will need to be on a liquid diet for a short while pre-surgery. This brief period goes for about two weeks before the surgery. It helps the makes the surgery easier by shrinking the liver slightly. This period fluctuates between one to two weeks. The doctor will advise further on this. However, after the surgery, the patient is supposed to transition back to consuming solid food. Solid foods are more nutritious and will thus be more beneficial to the body’s state post-surgery.
Myth: Bariatric surgery will leave a big scar.
Fact: Currently, medicine has advanced, and thus prominent scars are not probable. Before laparoscopic surgeries were performed, then this myth would have been correct. Laparoscopic surgeries involve the introduction of a small camera into the body to help the doctor have visuals on the inside of the patient’s body without having to make a big incision. This procedure works through the loosening of the skin around the subject area, which is why the patient needs to be on a liquid diet before the surgery. Thus, the mark left after the surgery is small owing to the small incision.
Myth: Weight loss surgery eliminates the possibility of carrying a pregnancy.
Fact: This is no true. It is possible to have children after bariatric surgery. Nevertheless, surgeons recommend that the patient waits for a period of between one to two years to do it. This is because the doctors have to make sure that your weight stabilizes before you gain it back again due to the pregnancy. The hormone levels fluctuate after the surgery due to the significant loss of weight and lack of some nutrients in the body. This is because the body prevents the body from regular absorption of minerals and vitamins. All the factors as mentioned earlier could play a part in making the pregnancy difficult.
Myth: Dumping syndrome commonly occurs in all bariatric surgery patients.
Facts: Some patients do not experience this syndrome post-surgery. The syndrome entails the dumping of undigested food into the small intestines from the stomach it takes place when the body is not fully prepared for the nutrient concentration in the food that it gets. Therefore, it responds by diluting the food. This dilution takes place through dumping the electrolytes and fluid into the intestine contents. This causes excessive bowel movements post-surgery. Experts recommend that patients avoid meals that have high sugar content and excess fatty foods. Consuming foods in smaller portions would also help to ease the dumping syndrome symptoms.
Myth: Bariatric surgery is a cosmetic surgery, thus not a big deal.
Fact: All weight loss surgeries are severe and carry many risks that could jeopardize the life of the patient. This is why it requires constant communication between the patient and the surgeon before and after the procedure takes place. Any complications during the surgery could cause severe damage including loss of life. Thus, it needs to be taken seriously and handled with care by both the medical practitioners involved and the patients.
Myth: The procedure is reversible if you are not pleased with the results.
Fact: Most people, who believe this myth, tend to coin it from the myth on bariatric surgery is cosmetic. If it is medically required that the patient’s state is reversed, then it will. However, this is a primary surgical procedure rather than a cosmetic one.
Myth: You have the option of choosing the procedure you want to help you achieve what you want.
Fact: When you visit your surgeon, he or she will analyze your situation and figure out which procedure will work best for your health. Once the National Institution of Health approves your request to undergo surgery, then you will undergo all the pre and post processes that relate to the procedure. The patient does not have the authority to decide the procedure that works best for them. This is because they are not qualified enough to know the consequences and results of the procedure.
Myth: Weight loss is painless, quick, and easy.
Fact: Losing weight through bariatric surgery is thought to be the easy alternative to losing weight. In fact, most people who do not have enough knowledge about this procedure tend to think that it could be an alternative to working out. This is not the case. Even though this procedure is laparoscopic, it will still leave a small mark. In addition to that, the patient will experience a little pain since bariatric surgery is a major surgery. For the operation to be successful, the patient needs to input a lot of effort to the cause. This input begins pre the surgical procedure to about two years after the surgery.
Myth: The surgery will change all the flaws that you perceive emotionally and mentally.
Fact: The truth is that after the surgery is done, you will still be you. The operation is not cosmetic; it only aids in fast-tracking the weight loss process. Thus, if you have any insecurity, you will need to fix them to strengthen your emotional and mental wellbeing. The surgery does not get rid of the personal flaws that you perceive.
Myth: The procedure is not practical, and most of the patients who go through this process regain their weight.
Fact: Studies show that approximately five percent of all the bariatric surgery patients tend to regain some little weight after more than two years after the surgery. However, most of the patients tend to follow through with all the post-surgery requirements and have no problem maintaining their desired weight. Experts view a successful weight loss to entail loss of up to fifty percent of the initial body weight of the person. This entire procedure depends on the amount of effort that the patient aims at inputting in their life. This is concerning a change in lifestyle and diet.
Fact: People who suffer from obesity experience life-threatening diseases and conditions, which increase their chance of dying. Some of these diseases include hypertension or type-two diabetes, among others. The ASMBS Bariatric Centers of Excellence database has real and accurate results regarding the death toll of patients who have succumbed to bariatric surgery a month after the procedure. The death toll averagely arrives at zero point one three percent (0.13%). This percentage rates to one in every one thousand patients die. This is far much less in comparison to that of people who have succumbed to obesity-related diseases and conditions, and other surgeries.
Further studies show that the mortality rate decreases due to the successful performance of bariatric surgery. As this happens, the mortality rate of weight-related conditions and diseases also decreases. It is clear that the benefits of undergoing a bariatric surgery are far more in comparison to the risks.
Myth: Bariatric surgery is the lazy way out of obesity. Obese persons should just stick to an exercise program and diet.
Fact: Studies show that people who have severe obesity have developed resistance against the effects of exercising and dieting. They find maintaining a healthy weight t be quite challenging and near impossible. Metabolic and bariatric surgeries are the only options that seem to work for such persons. The procedure eliminates the chances of relapsing to an unhealthy lifestyle due to dieting. The surgery increases the ability of the body to improve and sustain high energy levels, which prove to be beneficial post surgery as the patient is working out. Some bariatric surgeries are responsible for biological changes that reduce food intake and addictions. The stomach also changes anatomically and increases the rate of nutrient absorption. The brain is also affected by the surgery as gut hormones increase. This increase leads to brain interactions that translate to a satiating feeling, decrease in appetite, and the reduction of hunger. Thus, this procedure is responsible for long-term weight loss, which is beneficial to persons who are suffering from severe obesity.
Myth: The possibility of becoming an alcoholic after the surgery increases.
Fact: Patients who struggle with alcoholism before the surgery experience this struggle after the surgery. This is because the alcohol sensitivity of the body increases after the surgery. This means that a few drinks are enough to get the person drunk, in comparison to the situation before the surgery. In addition to this, the blood alcohol levels for the person who goes through bariatric surgeries such as sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass. Thus, all patients who go through bariatric surgery are advised to practice the following self-care precautions:
- Ask for help if they begin experiencing alcoholism
- Avoid working on or with heavy equipment when they are drunk or avoid drinking when practicing this.
- Increase their awareness concerning the increased intoxication that follows the consumption of small alcohol amounts after the surgical procedure.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks when they are trying to lose weight rapidly.
- As a patient, if you think that you might struggle with alcoholism post-surgery, then you should inform your surgeon. They might help you address the issue head-on or direct you to someone else who will.
Myth: Bariatric surgery increases the suicide rate.
Fact: Patients who suffer from severe obesity are more likely to have some experience concerning anxiety, low self-esteem, low life quality, or depression. For most patients, this surgery aids them to regain their confidence, quality of life, and self-esteem. Thus, it is safe to say that this non-cosmetic surgery helps people recover their will to live. However, some few patients have psychological disorders that have not been diagnosed yet. Once the operation is complete, these patients begin to realize that the issue is emotional and psychological, rather than physical. This realization might drive them to commit suicide. This is an infrequent occurrence. Thus, the bariatric programs inculcated a psychological evaluation test before the surgery. This helps the medical practitioners know the behavioral tendencies of the patients and helps them after the surgery, thus reducing the suicide rate. They also make sure that the patients have behavioral therapists to help them adapt to their new lifestyle post-surgery.
Myth: Bariatric surgery patients develop health complications due to mineral and vitamin deficiencies post surgery.
Fact: It is true that bariatric surgery reduces the body’s affinity to mineral and vitamin absorption. However, these medicines vary concerning the rate of malabsorption. This side effect of some operations is more severe in comparison to others. It is also possible that the patient will experience some protein deficiency post the surgery. This causes health complications such as fatigue, cognitive defects, loss of normal nerve function, low immunity, impaired night vision, muscle loss, bone loss, and even anemia, among others. Nevertheless, doctors are well aware of these side effects and the impact that they could have on the patient’s health. Thus, they are equipped to handle the post-surgery situation. This is through the inclusion of dietary supplements in the post-surgery regimen and a routine nutrient check.
Myth: Obesity is not a disease or condition but an addiction.
Fact: A small percentage of persons with obesity have eating disorders. Eating disorders are syndromes that result in excessive intake of food, which increases the rate of calorie consumption. Therefore, obesity is caused by numerous factors. This means that its treatment modes are more complicated in comparison to those of addictions. Addictions focus on abstinence as a mode of curing the addiction. This would not work concerning obesity. The energy imbalance in the body leads to weight gain, which when not attended to leads to obesity. In addition to this, obesity is progressive, menacing that it becomes worse with time. In addition to this, obesity adversely affects the appetite regulators causing an increase in appetite, which leads to weight gain. Those above are just some of the few issues surrounding obesity. It shows the extent of this condition and shows that it surpasses that of an addiction concerning the treatment methods and the effects of the condition.
Myth: Bariatric surgeries entail “stomach stapling.”
Fact: This is not true. Some types of bariatric surgeries are gastrointestinal. This means that they deal with the fat reduction in the gut. Some of them aim at reducing the size of the stomach, which affects its functions. Others affect the digestive tract and the rate of nutrient and calorie absorption by the body. On the other hand, others just aim at reducing the fat amount in the arms and other body parts. This means that various surgeries have various effects on the body’s functioning. Moreover, people function differently. Some of them tend to experience personalized effects.
Myth: Obese persons are stupid and lazy.
Fact: Obese people suffer from weight-related diseases and conditions that put them at high risk of succumbing to either these disorders or suicide. This constant discrimination and judgment lead them not to go about their exercises comfortably. Obesity does not affect a person’s ability to think and reason.
Myth: Previous surgeries affect the ability of performance of laparoscopic surgery.
Fact: The National Institute of Health analyzes each situation on a case-by-case basis. This means that each case is different. However, previous surgeries rarely affect a candidate’s ability to undergo laparoscopic surgery.
Myth: Some weight loss procedures affect proper nutrition.
Fact: Most patients are advised to take supplements after undergoing such procedures. This is because the procedure tends to affect the body’s ability to absorb minerals and vitamins. This leaves the patient at risk of developing malnutrition. This is why regular checkups and following the medical practitioner’s instructions are mandatory precaution post the surgery. Most of the patients take care of their bodies post the surgical procedure. Thus they tend to maintain their nutrition and weight past the two-year mark.
Myth: You do not have to g for follow up care.
Fact: It is essential that the patient meets with their medical practitioner continually even past the two-year mark. This is concerning all the bariatric surgical procedures. It will help the patient and doctor monitor the progress and recommend further treatment if need be. It will also prevent post-surgical depression and anxiety.
Myth: Gaining weight after having an RNY gastric bypass is due to the tummy pouch, which stretches back out post surgery.
Fact: When the pouch stretches, it signifies that the stomach is emptying food faster leading to a feeling of hunger and increased appetite. This does not necessarily mean that the patient will add weight since they can opt for eating healthier food alternatives. However, if your body experiences this stretch, make sure you seek the aid of your medical practitioner. This will aid in post shrinkage that will help the body cope with this condition.