Weight-loss surgery: myths and realities
Weight loss surgery is in the news almost daily and with it comes the myths and realities of weight loss surgery. You may hear everything from glowing reports of saved lives to horror stories about surgeries gone wrong. No doubt you know people who have had the surgery or you know someone who knows someone who has had the surgery and with that comes miscommunications and sometimes data that is not exactly accurate or is incorrectly attributed to one procedure rather than another. Here are some myths about weight loss surgery that you may have heard. Hopefully this will disspell some of those myths and set the record straight.
Bariatric surgery will make you thin.
Weight loss surgical procedures can help patients lose up to 40 to 80 percent of excess body weight depending on the type of surgery. Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy usually produce more weight loss, 50-80% of excess weight, while Gastric Banding results in 40-60% excess weight loss.
All bariatric surgery involves “stomach stapling.”
There are many different types of procedures for weight loss, some of which reduce the functioning size of the stomach and others that bypass parts of the digestive tract, reducing absorption of calories and nutrients. Different types of surgeries offer different results, and some are more suitable for particular people than others. Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy and Laparoscopic Gastric Banding are considered the most effective and safe, these constitute the majority of weight loss procedures performed in the United States.
You can’t get pregnant after weight loss surgery.
Many patients have trouble getting pregnant prior to surgery and find that they’re very fertile following surgery. This is good news if you want to have children — or it may be bad news if you don’t.
Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy following weight loss surgery is very possible. Patients are much less at risk during pregnancy because their other health problems have lessened or disappeared. After your weight is back to normal, and assuming you don’t have any other health problems. If you’re a woman of childbearing age, use two forms of birth control for one year following surgery, it is more difficult for the baby doctors to monitor you during the first year with rapid weight loss, therefore it is recommended you don’t get pregnant in the first year. Following the first year a normal pregnancy may be expected.
You’ll be happy after surgery.
Unhappy people come in all shapes and sizes. Losing weight does not guarantee happiness. That said, you will find many rewards — both physical and emotional — when you reach a normal weight. You’ll have a stronger sense of self-esteem and your health problems will be much more under control. But weight loss surgery won’t solve all your problems, and you don’t want to go into surgery thinking it will.
Weight loss surgery is very risky.
Many people associate weight loss surgery with a very high risk of death, but that is just not reality. The death rate associated with weight loss surgery is considered to be one-half of 1 percent, when an experienced surgeon performs the surgery. That is well below the risk of death after most commonly performed surgical procedures like removal of large intestine, heart surgery or lung surgery. Also considering the health risks of staying morbidly obese, you may be at far greater risk staying that way than you will by having surgery.
You have to pay for weight loss surgery yourself.
You may have to pay for your own weight loss surgery, but weight loss surgery is often covered by insurance. Even though, in recent years, insurance companies have become more demanding in their screening of patients, the vast majority of surgeries are covered. If anyone where you work has had weight loss surgery, check with him or her about what experience he had with insurance coverage. You’ll get a sense of what, if anything, you may be up against. If you have the same insurance company as one of your friends but you aren’t on the same plan, your insurance could be entirely different. One company may list the surgery as an exclusion for its employees, while another company that uses the same insurance company may not. Just be sure to talk with your insurance company beforehand so you know what costs, if any, will be involved. We will also verify your benefits for you, if you wish.
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