The 10 Most Common Misconceptions About Weight Loss Surgery
- 09 November 2016
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
Many patients suffering from obesity are seriously considering getting a weight loss surgery, but the many misconceptions surrounding the procedure can make them think twice about it.
The thing is, many of these myths are nothing more than faulty perceptions that people have about bariatric surgery, proven neither by science or by the people who have undergone weight loss surgery.
Check out the 10 most common misconceptions about bariatric surgery – and the real facts behind them.
It’s easy to regain weight after a weight loss surgery.
Though studies show that as many as 50 percent of bariatric surgery patients gained weight within two years, the weight they gained was only five percent of their total body weight, making it almost negligible. Furthermore, a study conducted by a team of Swedish researchers showed that the guts of people who underwent bariatric surgery get repopulated with healthy bacteria, which help metabolize carbohydrates and fats and decrease the body’s overall fat mass.
That being said, it is still essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep the weight that you lost in bariatric surgery at bay.
Bariatric surgery can be more fatal than obesity.
Bariatric surgery is not without its risks, but to say that it is more fatal than obesity is a stretch. After all, obesity can increase your risk for several life-threatening conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart attack.
Moreover, studies show that only one out of 1,000 patients die 30 days following bariatric surgery – an exceptionally low number. Other surgeries are even more fatal.
Needless to say, the benefits of weight loss surgery far outweigh its risks.
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You might become an alcoholic after weight loss surgery.
Once you have undergone bariatric surgery, you become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, making you feel intoxicated after just a few drinks. That does not mean that you are more alcoholic, though. It is just that your body responds to alcohol differently now, with your blood alcohol levels rising more quickly than people who never had weight loss surgery.
Hence, you need to take certain precautions with regard to drinking alcohol. Make sure that you do not consume alcoholic beverages during the rapid weight loss period. You should also avoid driving or operating heavy equipment after drinking even just a small amount.
Obese people who opt for bariatric surgery are just lazy.
One of the reasons why severely obese people undergo weight loss surgery is because their fats have become resistant to diet and exercise. It is not like they have not made any efforts to lose weight. Studies have shown that it is nearly impossible to maintain weight loss for morbidly obese people, necessitating outside intervention like bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery restricts food intake or causes malabsorption of nutrients, resulting in massive weight loss. It also increases the production of certain gut flora that help reduce hunger, decrease appetite, and enhance satiety.
You will have some serious malnutrition problems after weight loss surgery.
Malabsorptive bariatric surgeries like gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion can lead to vitamin, mineral, and protein deficiencies, which can have adverse health effects like anemia, low immunity, and loss of nerve function.
However, it does not mean that once you get a weight loss surgery, you will automatically have these deficiencies. These adverse effects can be avoided with proper diet and the use of dietary supplements, as strictly advised by your expert nutritionist. It is also important to have your nutrient levels checked regularly after you have had weight loss surgery.
You will not get pregnant after bariatric surgery.
Weight loss surgery only involves changes in the gastrointestinal system, so there is no reason why you cannot get pregnant because of it. In fact, losing weight is essential when conceiving a baby, since obesity is a risk factor in both men and women.
However, plastic surgeons strongly advise patients not to immediately try to get pregnant right after a bariatric surgery, as pregnancy can interfere with weight loss.
You might be too young or too old to undergo weight loss surgery.
Teenagers suffering from severe obesity can already undergo bariatric surgery, as it has been proven to be beneficial to them by several studies. Most of them could maintain their new weight and even see a drop in their cholesterol levels. They have also lowered their risk for adult problems like hip, knee, foot, and back pain.
Similarly, bariatric surgery is considered safe for older adults if they do not have serious health issues that can make surgery risky. In fact, there are many bariatric surgery patients already in their 60s and 70s.
Insurance will not cover your bariatric surgery.
Many insurance plans like Medicare and Medicaid cover weight loss surgery, since studies show that the cost of not treating obesity is likely to be higher in the long run. In fact, medical expenses have dropped significantly by 40 percent after bariatric surgery, which is a great thing for insurance companies.
Furthermore, weight loss is not the only consideration for insurance companies when approving or disapproving a bariatric surgery. If you have other risk factors that your obesity is causing or affecting, you may use these as supporting evidence for your insurance claim. Always check with your insurance company as they have different guidelines in approving weight loss surgery.
You cannot eat certain foods after a weight loss surgery.
Bariatric surgery limits the amount of food that you eat because of the formation of a much smaller stomach pouch, but it does not mean that you need to exclude certain food groups from your diet. After you recover from surgery, your diet will be unchanged, although you need to incorporate more nutritious foods in it. You will be placed on a liquid diet immediately after your operation to allow your digestive system to cope with the changes, but you will eventually be switched back to your regular diet within a week or two.
You will have dumping syndrome after bariatric surgery.
Dumping syndrome is caused by the rapid entry of undigested food from the stomach into the small intestine. Since your small bowel is caught off-guard, it rushes to dilute the food by dumping fluid and electrolytes quickly into the contents of the intestines.
Though dumping syndrome happens to bariatric surgery patients, not everyone experiences it. Limiting fatty foods, simple carbohydrates, and sugar in your diet, as well as eating small meals frequently, can help prevent this from happening.
Still got a lot of questions about weight loss surgery? Do not hesitate to contact one of our board-certified surgeons here on Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery. We can Schedule a Free Consultation for you so that you can discuss all your weight loss surgery concerns with us.