Six Myths About Weight Loss Surgery

Miami's Community Newspapers
Dr. Jorge Sosa

Weight loss surgery may be a successful option for people who have tried many diets over the years, yet without sustaining weight loss that keeps them at a healthy weight. However, myths about weight loss surgery get a lot of attention. Below, we bust six common myths about bariatric surgery.

Surgery is a “cop-out.” Not true. Patients having weight loss surgery must be mentally prepared to be successful. In addition to mental preparation, patients must follow strict dietary guidelines for six weeks after surgery and then continue to be diligent about food volume, choices, taking vitamins and increasing exercise for the rest of their lives in order to lose the excess body weight and keep it off long term. Bariatric surgery helps a person lose weight but a long-term commitment is required.

Weight loss surgery is too expensive. While the cash pay price can be high, there are many financing options, and many people have insurance coverage for weight loss surgery. If your plan covers weight loss surgery, and you meet the guidelines to get approval, then you would only be required to pay your deductible or co-insurance. 

It won’t really help you live longer. Studies have found that receiving weight loss surgery can drastically reduce the risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease. Not only could you live longer, your quality of life is likely to improve.

You won’t be able to have children. Obese women are more likely to be unable to conceive due to factors related to menstruation and ovulation. They also have a high risk of complications if they do get pregnant. Patients who have had weight loss surgery may be able to conceive more easily and are less likely to have gestational diabetes according to a Swedish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It will increase your risk for other health problems. While patients do have to watch their nutritional intake after surgery, the actual risk is no greater than from having gall bladder surgery. Weight loss surgery also lowers your risk of other chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease while improving conditions such as sleep apnea and asthma.

You will have the same risk of weight gain. After weight loss surgery, the gut gets populated with healthy bacteria which can help metabolize fat, boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. According to a study by Swedish researchers, these changes in bacteria can last a decade. In addition to these changes, the education, support and the anatomy of the surgery itself can have a long-lasting effect on an individual’s maintaining a healthy weight.

When asked about such myths, Dr. Jorge Sosa, the Medical Director of the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence at Palmetto General Hospital replied, “These and other myths about weight loss surgery keep some patients from receiving its benefits, my advice is always to attend an information seminar or get the facts from your health care professionals.”

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