Myths and Misconceptions about Weight Loss Surgery
- Everybody loses weight with weight loss surgery.
It is true that a great majority of patients lose a significant amount of weight after weight loss surgery, but there is no guarantee that you will lose weight. Proper behavior changes, such as a change in eating habits and a lifelong commitment, are what result in long-term weight-loss success.
- Most patients regain the weight they lost after surgery.
Again, proper weight loss and maintenance of the weight loss requires a daily commitment to changing eating patterns and habits in order to maximize your success after surgery. The great majority of patients do not regain their weight.
- There is a higher chance of dying from the surgery than there is of dying from obesity.
All surgeries have risk, but the chance of dying from medical problems related to obesity (called co-morbidities) is significantly higher than the minimal risk of dying from the actual operation.
- Obese people just need to diet and exercise to lose weight rather than have surgery; surgery is the easy way out.
Individuals affected by severe obesity are resistant to long-term weight-loss by diet and exercise. The National Institutes of Health Experts Panel recognize that ‘long-term’ weight-loss is nearly impossible for those affected by severe obesity by any means other than bariatric surgery. These surgeries are effective in maintaining long-term weight-loss because they help reduce caloric intake and cause changes in gut hormones that decrease your desire for food.
- There is a higher incidence of suicide in people that have had weight loss surgery.
Individuals affected by severe obesity who are seeking a surgical solution are more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety, have lower self-esteem and lower overall quality of life than someone who is of normal weight. Bariatric surgery results in a significant improvement in psychosocial well-being for the great majority of patients. However, there remain a few patients with undiagnosed preexisting psychological disorders who may need to seek professional attention. For this reason, comprehensive bariatric programs require psychological evaluations prior to surgery.
- Obesity is an addiction like alcoholism or drug dependency.
Although there is a small percentage of individuals affected by obesity who have eating disorders, such as binge eating disorder syndrome, that may result in the intake of excess food (calories), for the vast majority of individuals affected by obesity, it is a complex disease involving metabolic imbalances. When treating addiction, such as alcohol and drugs, one of the first steps is abstaining from the drugs or alcohol. This approach does not work with obesity as we need to eat to live.