6 Common Misconceptions about Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a huge step in many people's weight loss journey. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma behind opting for bariatric surgery. Whether you’re thinking about having surgery done, know someone who has had a bariatric procedure, or just are looking to learn more about the topic, it is important to know about the common misconceptions behind bariatric surgery.



1. It’s the “Easy Way Out”



Many label those who seek weight loss help through surgery as lazy and looking for the “easy way out.” However, getting a bariatric procedure done is only the beginning of a long and strenuous journey. Bariatric surgery patients still have to focus on eating well and exercising after their surgery. They won’t just miraculously lose all their excess weight. Many patients have also attempted to lose weight through diet and exercise prior to the surgery but found that they may have needed additional treatment. We are here to clarify that there is nothing easy about bariatric surgery.


2. It’s better to just “deal” with the obesity



Some believe that ignoring obesity and its related illnesses is a better option than having a bariatric procedure done. It’s estimated that 300,000 deaths per year are due to obesity, something that is treatable. Opting to not treat obesity, whether it be through denying surgery or other care options, can seriously impact the quality and extent of your life. Data has shown that death 30 days after bariatric surgery only occurs 0.13% of the time. Bariatric surgery is much safer today than it was even 10 years ago.


3. Bariatric patients have vitamin and mineral deficiencies.



The risk of vitamin/mineral deficiencies post-surgery is a risk everyone should be aware of. It’s important to know how prevalent this complication is. Patients usually are required to meet with a nutritionist/coach post op to make sure they are getting the correct diet. They are also advised to take specific supplements made for post bariatric surgery. Please talk to a physician before habitually taking any supplement.


4. Obesity is a food addiction similar to substance abuse



When we treat alcoholism or drug addictions, the most important step is to remove substances which the patient is dependent on. This approach can’t be taken when treating obesity, because food is something that we need to survive. There are many factors that influence obesity and all must be considered.


5. Many bariatric patients become alcoholics after their surgery.



The truth is, only a small percentage of bariatric surgery patients report having issues with alcohol post op. Most of these patients also have had problems with alcohol before their surgery. This misconception stems from the fact that alcohol sensitivity increases after surgery. Meaning the patient’s tolerance drops. This change does not necessarily mean that patients will be more likely to abuse alcohol, but appropriate precautions must still be taken.


6. Surgery is a waste because you just regain the weight.



There is a misconception that after losing weight from bariatric surgery, patients will gain all that weight back. As many as 50% of patients report regain weight post-surgery, but it is quite a small amount of their weight they gain back (approximately 5%). Most of the time, patients can maintain a healthy weight, even if the weight gradually increases over time for some.


Sources

Anon., n.d. National Institute of Health. [Online]

Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight

[Accessed 6 August 2019].


Anon., n.d. Rush. [Online]

Available at: https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/skinny-bariatric-surgery

[Accessed 6 August 2019].


Anon., n.d. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). [Online]

Available at: https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-misconceptions

[Accessed 6 August 2019].


Anon., n.d. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). [Online]

Available at: https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-procedures#

[Accessed 6 August 2019].


Anon., n.d. WVDHHR. [Online]

Available at: https://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/oehp/obesity/mortality.htm

[Accessed 6 August 2019].

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