As more people struggling with obesity commit to improving their health, surgical weight loss procedures have been on the rise in recent years. The most common weight loss procedures include the gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve. By reducing the size of the stomach and how much food can be consumed, these surgeries can be life-changing and even life-saving. However, there are still some common misconceptions and biases out there that may prevent qualified patients from choosing weight loss surgery.
Let’s debunk some of these misconceptions:
1) Weight loss surgery is the “easy” option for people too lazy to diet and exercise
It’s true that diet and exercise are important parts of losing weight. However, diet and exercise alone may not work for everyone. For people who are severely obese, long term weight loss may only be achievable through a medical procedure. After shedding the necessary amount of weight from surgery, patients are then able to make life-changing, impactful changes in their diet and exercise routines to keep the weight off.
2) Weight loss surgery poses too high of a risk
Surgical weight loss is a major procedure that, like all medical treatments, comes with associated risks. However, if one is obese, the risk of doing nothing is greater than the risk associated with weight loss surgery. Obesity is linked with serious health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It’s the second leading cause of preventable death in the US, according to the National Institutes of Health. Weight loss surgery is safe compared to continuing to live with such serious health concerns. For more information on the different types of weight loss surgery and the associated risks and benefits, check our our post on gastric sleeve vs gastric bypass.
3) Most patients will regain most, if not all, of their weight
It’s not the norm for weight loss surgery patients to regain most or all of their weight. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, up to half of patients may regain some weight in the years after surgery, but its usually not more than 5% of the weight lost. That said, weight loss surgery is not a magic bullet. Most patients are able to keep up healthy diet and exercise habits, which helps keep the weight off long term.
4) Weight loss surgery isn’t covered by insurance
Many people assume that weight loss surgery is a cosmetic procedure, and therefore won’t be covered by insurance. However, many companies now consider weight loss surgery as “medically necessary”, and may offer coverage. Coverage varies by state and provider, though, so it’s best to double check.
5) It’s impossible to have children after weight loss surgery
There is no medical reason why patients can’t have children after a weight loss procedure. However, it’s not advisable for female patients to get pregnant immediately after surgery. It’s best to reach a stabilized weight before becoming pregnant, during which the body experiences hormonal changes and nutritional imbalances. On average, it’s advised to wait at least two years after weight loss surgery before becoming pregnant. Consult your bariatric surgeon and your OBGYN for the best family planning guidelines for you.
Weight loss surgery can dramatically improve quality of life. For many people, it’s a big deal not to need an extra seat on the airplane or to be able to go on amusement park rides with their children. For some, it’s simply the ability to go out for a long walk. Debunking these myths can help patients get the facts straight and make a more informed decision about whether weight loss surgery is a good fit. Got more questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!