Bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, is a health topic associated with much intrigue in recent years now that the procedure has become more widespread. Within the past several years, research has proven that bariatric surgery can help reverse and improve many health conditions related to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and more. However, many individuals remain in the dark about what having weight-loss surgery really involves, and how it can help people lose weight. As a result, those who undergo bariatric surgery are frequently faced with questions from their peers regarding the nature of the procedure — some of which can be offensive and insulting.
Many individuals resort to having weight-loss surgery after having attempted to lose weight traditionally through diet and exercise. Bariatric surgery requires patients to work hard at losing and keeping off excess weight following surgery — resulting in an often arduous journey as they work on understanding the importance of good nutrition, regular exercise, and an overall healthy lifestyle.
Do you know anyone who has had weight-loss surgery? According to Brian Smith, MD, a bariatric surgeon at University of California Irvine, here are five questions and comments weight-loss surgery patients dislike hearing when third parties speak to them about bariatric surgery.<
1. Why didn’t you just try losing weight through diet and exercise?
Patients do not qualify for bariatric surgery unless they’ve already tried and failed to lose weight through diet and exercise. Obesity can trigger and cause a number of major health problems, such as hormonal imbalance, hypothyroidism, arthritis and joint pain, and depression — all of which can hinder or halt weight loss completely. In fact, patients who commit to having weight-loss surgery are required to engage in a life-long fitness routine following surgery to maintain a healthy weight and prevent weight gain.
2. You’re lucky because you can eat anything you want now!
Bariatric surgery simply restricts your portion sizes, which means if you eat nothing but sweets and junk food, you may still gain weight, or worse, become seriously ill. Each type of bariatric surgery works slightly differently from the next, and comes with a special set of specific digestive restrictions. For example, those who have adjustable gastric banding procedures such as the REALIZE Band or LAP-BAND are mostly unable to consume bread because it can lead to stomach obstruction, whereas those who have Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery have to avoid consuming sweets of any kind since they can travel faster to the intestines and result in cramping and severe diarrhea.
3. Will you be able to lose weight without doing anything?
Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss tool, and does not in itself cause you to lose weight. Weight-loss surgery patients understand that surgery is a jump-start on a healthier lifestyle, and that they will be required to eat healthy foods and exercise indefinitely following surgery. In fact, bariatric surgery can fail to work if patients do not make the effort to lead a healthier lifestyle after the procedure.
4. Do you have a lot of extra skin hanging off your body?
Each patient’s body handles weight-loss surgery a bit differently from the next. If you’re feeling curious about whether a bariatric patient has excess skin, keep in mind that this particular question is extremely personal, and may be offending to some. Younger bariatric patients tend to have fewer problems with sagging skin due to having more elasticity, whereas older patients may opt to have body contouring cosmetic surgery procedures following weight-loss surgery, such as liposuction or tummy tuck. Overall, if patients focus on strength-training exercises that tighten and tone their skin and muscles, they may be able to avoid problems associated with extra, sagging skin.
5. It doesn’t look like you’ve lost that much weight!
Bariatric surgery doesn’t involve a surgeon cutting away and removing excess skin and fat deposits, so patients won’t leave the hospital looking 100 pounds lighter. Bariatric surgery is actually a gradual process that can take up to several months or years, and requires hard work on behalf of patients. In most cases, bariatric patients don’t experience significant weight-loss results until one year after having surgery. Keep in mind that bariatric surgery mainly restricts portion sizes, which means it can often take months of consistent, healthy eating habits to result in weight loss.
CarePoint Health Center for Bariatric Surgery offers a number of different weight-loss surgeries to help you meet your weight-loss goals, including sleeve gastrectomy and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. To learn more about our bariatric surgery options, contact us at 201-795-8175 and register for our free seminar.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.