7 Weight Loss Surgery Myths
Weight loss surgery is a life-changing ó and potentially life-saving ó procedure that helps you lose a significant amount of weight by shrinking the size of your stomach and reducing your food intake. Gastric bypass, Lap-Band and gastric sleeve are the three most recognizable names in weight loss surgery, but there are a variety of other options as well, thanks to continued advancements in technology.
Weight loss surgeries have been on the rise in recent years as more people struggling with morbid obesity commit themselves to improving their health. Nonetheless, there remains a substantial portion of the morbidly obese population who are unwilling to consider treatment for a variety of reasons. It doesnít help that there are a slew of misconceptions related to weight loss surgery that may dissuade people from considering a bariatric procedure.
With that in mind, here are seven weight loss surgery myths that you should ignore:
1. You'll Regain Lost Weight
Myth: You will regain most if not all of your lost weight.
Fact: Although some weight loss surgery patients regain weight in the years after their procedure, it's simply not the norm. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), up to 50 percent of bariatric surgery patients may regain weight in the years after surgery, but it usually only amounts to 5 percent of the weight lost. This is because most patients embrace the life-changing effects of weight loss surgery by improving their diet and lifestyle habits.
2. You'll Never Regain Weight
Myth: Weight loss surgery prevents you from regaining weight.
Fact: Weight loss surgery is not a magic bullet. In order to get the full effects of treatment, itís essential that you adopt a change in lifestyle and diet that helps to support healthy weight management. Your surgeon may recommend a nutritionist or lifestyle coach that can help you to make the necessary adjustments, but you have a great deal of responsibility when it comes to helping yourself make the treatment successful. The good news is, the vast majority of bariatric surgery patients do just that; so if youíre like most patients you should be able to shed the weight and keep it off for life.
3. No Insurance Coverage
Myth: Your insurance will not cover weight loss surgery.
Fact: Although insurance coverage varies by state and provider, many companies now offer public and private options for weight loss surgery deemed "medically necessary." In fact, insurance companies may cover upwards of 80 percent of what is deemed "customary and usual" fees associated with your surgery. Medicare also affords coverage to certain approved individuals for three specific surgeries: Roux-en-Y bypass, open and laparoscopic biliopancreatic diversions, and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. If you are considering weight loss surgery, the best thing to do is speak with your insurance provider to evaluate your coverage options.
4. You Can't Have Children
Myth: You will be unable to have children after weight loss surgery.
Fact: Itís not advisable to get pregnant immediately after weight loss surgery, but itís simply not true that you will be unable to have children. Itís inadvisable to get pregnant immediately for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that your weight should stabilize first. Also, your surgery will cause hormonal changes and nutritional imbalances initially, as you adapt to the changes. On average, patients are advised to wait two years before getting pregnant.
5. You'll Become an Alcoholic
Myth: Alcoholism is a common side effect of weight loss surgery.
Fact: After weight loss surgery you will be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol (in part due to the rapid weight loss), meaning that your previous drinking habits may cause you to become more inebriated than before. But it's not true that alcoholism is in any way linked with weight loss surgery itself. According to the ASMBS, only a "small percentage" of bariatric surgery patients have a problem with alcohol after surgery. And in most cases, the problem existed before the surgery.
6. It's the Easy Way Out
Myth: Weight loss surgery is nothing more than a cop-out for people who are too lazy to diet and exercise.
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, diet and exercise isn't the best weight loss solution for everyone. The National Institutes of Health Experts Panel actually states that long-term, sustained weight loss for people who are severely obese is only achievable through a weight loss procedure. Thatís not to say that diet and exercise wonít benefit someone who is severely obese, or that they wonít be able to lose weight. But in order to shed the necessary amount of weight to make a life-changing, healthful impact, bariatric surgery may be the best option.
If you are struggling with severe obesity and are considering surgery, speak with your doctor and nutritionist to better understand your personal situation before making any decisions.
7. It's More Dangerous than Obesity
Myth: The risks of weight loss surgery outweigh the risks of obesity.
Fact: Utterly false. Obesity is a disease linked with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and others. In fact, the National Institutes of Health list obesity as the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Weight loss surgery on the other hand is an incredibly safe procedure. Studies have shown that bariatric surgery patients are able to reduce their mortality rate by up to 89 percent compared with severely obese people who avoid treatment.
Want to learn more? See what you need to know about bariatric surgery.