Bariatric Surgery Misconceptions Debunked [UPDATED 2024]
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Last Updated on November 15, 2023
Like just about everything to do with losing weight and your weight-loss journey, misconceptions of bariatric surgery abound. Sometimes called weight-loss surgery or bariatric surgery, the misconceptions that surround this procedure can sometimes prevent people from choosing the most effective intervention available for long-term weight loss.
Don’t let these or other myths and misconceptions stop you from enjoying a healthier life at a lower weight.
Misconception: You Must Be Extremely Obese To Qualify For Surgery
The truth is that the health benefits of bariatric surgery, including the reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, in addition to weight loss, can benefit patients who don’t seem “morbidly obese”.
Misconception: You’ll Eventually Regain the Weight You Lost Due to the Surgery
The truth is that your best option for long-term weight loss is bariatric surgery. The vast majority of patients who follow their aftercare program are successful at maintaining their weight loss for the rest of their lives.
Misconception: You’re Going to Feel Hungry All the Time
There’s a very straight-forward reason why this one isn’t true. Bariatric surgery, especially gastric sleeve surgery, or a sleeve gastrectomy, reduces the amount of ghrelin produced by your stomach. Ghrelin is the hormone in your body responsible for increasing your appetite when it’s time to eat. The reduction in ghrelin production means fewer hunger pangs after bariatric surgery.
Misconception: It Doesn’t Matter Which Bariatric Surgery Clinic You Choose
Explanation: Here’s another one where the truth is the exact opposite of the misconception. After choosing to get it done, the most important decision you can make about bariatric surgery is which clinic and surgeon will perform the procedure.
In addition to the aftercare program, the effectiveness of which determines how easy it is to recover and the benefits you enjoy, you should choose a weight loss clinic where the surgeon has significant experience and expertise in the surgical procedure you opt for. If you can’t speak to the surgeon who will perform your surgery and learn more about his or her background and credentials, then you should consider another clinic.
Misconception: Bariatric Surgery is a Quick Fix for Weight Loss
Many people believe that bariatric surgery is an easy solution for rapid weight loss. However, it’s crucial to understand that the surgery is just the beginning of a lifelong commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Success post-surgery depends on adhering to dietary guidelines, regular exercise, and often psychological support. The surgery is a tool to help with weight loss, but it requires significant and permanent lifestyle changes.
Misconception: Bariatric Surgery is Extremely Risky
While any surgical procedure carries risks, advancements in medical technology and surgical techniques have significantly reduced the risks associated with bariatric surgery. It’s important to compare these risks with the health risks of remaining obese, such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. A thorough pre-surgery evaluation and a well-planned aftercare program further mitigate risks.
Misconception: You Can’t Get Pregnant After Bariatric Surgery
There’s a common belief that bariatric surgery affects fertility or the ability to have a healthy pregnancy. In reality, weight loss after surgery can actually improve fertility in many women. However, it is generally recommended to avoid pregnancy for a certain period (usually 12-18 months) post-surgery to ensure the body has stabilized and can support a healthy pregnancy.
Also read – Does Gastric Sleeve Affect Pregnancy
Misconception: Bariatric Surgery Leads to Malnutrition
Some people fear that bariatric surgery will lead to chronic malnutrition or vitamin deficiencies. While it’s true that the surgery can affect how the body absorbs nutrients, these risks can be managed effectively with a well-planned diet and appropriate supplements. Regular follow-up appointments to monitor nutritional status are an integral part of post-surgery care.
Misconception: Bariatric Surgery is Only for Younger Patients
There’s a misconception that bariatric surgery is only safe or effective for younger individuals. However, age alone is not a determinant for the surgery’s suitability. Older adults can also benefit from bariatric surgery, and it can significantly improve their quality of life. The decision is based on overall health, obesity-related conditions, and the potential benefits versus risks, regardless of age.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about what is a gastric sleeve procedure.