Questions to Ask When Considering Weight Loss Surgery
The idea of having a surgery to help reduce weight holds a lot of appeal for people suffering from obesity. And surgery has often worked out where other conservative techniques of weight loss like exercise and diets have failed.
But obesity surgery by itself is not a magic wand. It can be considered a very effective tool for you to lose weight. It is very important to have complete knowledge of and realistic expectations from bariatric surgery. Hence, we have compiled a list of questions that you can ask your doctor or health professional before deciding on weight loss surgery:
Why should I go for weight loss surgery?
No doctor will usually suggest weight loss surgery as the first option. If he or she does, then it should ring alarm bells. If you have a BMI more than or equal to 35 with obesity-related conditions, you can be a candidate for weight loss surgery.
Can bariatric surgery be performed in a minimally invasive way?
Yes, minimally invasive weight loss surgery is possible. And it carries many benefits to the patient like less pain, speedier recovery, etc. But be it open or laparoscopic surgery, certain risks remain. Also, some patients, like morbidly obese patients, may not be considered eligible candidates for laparoscopic surgery.
What are the risks involved?
Be it lap band, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or duodenal switch surgery, they all come with risks and possible complications. A clear understanding is a must before deciding on surgery.
How quickly will I lose weight and will I put the weight back on again?
Patients lose weight rapidly up to two years after surgery. But if you eat deep-fried or high-calorie foods or eat more than you are supposed to, the weight can come back.
I have some health conditions related to my obesity. Will surgery still be an option for me?
You will be subjected to a detailed heart and lung evaluation before this question can be answered. Patients with obesity-related health conditions are advised to actually lose some weight before surgery.
Which weight loss surgery is best for me?
The lap band surgery is considered the safest among weight loss procedures, but it requires a high level of patient motivation and compliance for success. The Roux-en-Y surgery is most frequently performed and is advised for patients with a BMI of 35-55. The duodenal switch procedure has many possible complications but has long-term weight loss benefits. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the weight loss procedure that best suits you.
Will I have to change my lifestyle after the surgery?
Yes, drastically. As we said earlier in the article, weight loss surgery cannot work miracles for you if you don’t co-operate. Throughout your life after bariatric surgery, you will need to pay a lot of attention to what you eat and take nutritional supplements.
Will my mental state be checked prior to surgery?
Yes. You will be put through a psychological screening to see if you suffer from depression or other emotional conditions. If yes, you will need to address those problems before undergoing surgery.
How long will I be in surgery?
1-3 hours or 4-6 hours, if additional procedures are done.
How long will I have to stay in the hospital?
3 days, if everything works out normally. But, if complications develop, hospital stay can be a month or more.
What am I supposed to eat after the operation?
Liquid food is recommended for 2 weeks. You can then slowly graduate to regular food in the next three months. A healthy diet has to be followed according to the instructions of your nutritionist.
What is the recuperation period for weight loss surgery?
It could be 3 days or 6 weeks, depending on how active you were before surgery and what type of procedure you had. You can safely assume that you will need about 2-4 weeks off from work. Those who undergo lap band surgery get back to work within a week.
Do my family and friends also need to understand this surgery?
It’s good if they make an effort to understand the procedure as they can help you with the follow-up program.
How much will weight loss surgery cost me?
The cost of weight loss surgery can range from $17,000 – $25,000, depending on several factors. Weight loss surgery in Mexico, Costa Rica, India and other medical tourism centers abroad comes at a fraction of US cost, with no compromise on quality.
What if I don’t have health insurance or if my health plan does not cover bariatric surgery?
Not to worry. Patients with obesity problems are increasingly taking the medical tourism route if they are unable to afford the procedure in the US, UK, Canada, etc. Popular destinations for weight loss surgery are Mexico, India, and Belgium, to name a few.
What support will be available to help me cope after the operation?
This is a very important question because the success of obesity surgery depends on how well you are able to follow the diet and exercise plans. If you are getting your surgery done abroad, make sure you find support groups back home.
Is obesity surgery for children?
Surgery is not generally recommended for children who have not been through puberty. But pubescent children may be considered for weight loss surgery, if they are facing serious health risks because of their weight.
Will I still be able to get pregnant?
Pregnancy is not advised at least for a year after the operation.
How do I handle extra skin and stretch marks?
Many patients undergo plastic surgery to resolve the problem of extra skin and stretch marks. But, this is best done after you have reached your ideal body weight.
Is weight loss surgery reversible?
The lap band procedure is reversible, whereas stomach stapling is not. Gastric bypass procedures are generally reversible, but do consult your doctor on this.
Can I get the body of a supermodel after obesity surgery?
Bariatric surgery mainly aims to lower the immediate health risks related to obesity. You may not achieve a BMI of 18.5 to 25 – considered to be the healthy range – but you can come close, provided you comply fully.
Some Weight Loss Surgery Options
With almost a third of the American adult population classified as obese, it’s clear that if you’re overweight, you certainly aren’t alone. Obesity is a growing health epidemic, and it affects the emotional and physical well-being of those who suffer from it.
Some of the many health risks that are associated with obesity include the following:
o Increased risk for many types of cancer
o Increased chance of having type II diabetes
o Higher risk of developing heart disease
o Increased likelihood of having high blood pressure and stroke
o Higher chance of having joint ailments like arthritis
o Increased likelihood of having breathing problems
How Can Obesity Be Controlled?
Traditionally, obesity has been considered a result of overindulgence in food and lack of exercise. For some people, this is the case. Diet and exercise play an important role in controlling obesity, but in some cases, the extra weight gets in the way to starting a good diet and exercise program.
For those people, weight loss surgery, including lap band surgery, may be an effective option in getting excess weight under control. When the weight is gone, it’s possible to implement a good exercise plan.
Types of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery may be a good option for people who have not had weight loss success with non-surgical methods. Weight loss surgery can provide the best results for these individuals, including longer-term loss of weight.
The two most common types of weight loss surgery are lap band surgery and gastric bypass surgery. There are significant differences between these two weight loss surgery options, and it’s important that those considering weight loss surgery understand the risks and benefits of both options.
What is Gastric Bypass?
Gastric bypass is a weight loss surgery option that involves several steps, including the following:
o Stapling the stomach to reduce its size
o Bypassing much of the stomach and some of the intestines
o Surgically attaching the intestines to the smaller stomach pouch
This procedure makes it impossible for the patient to eat as much food as they normally would. The shortened intestine also means that the body cannot absorb as many nutrients from the food.
There are some advantages to this weight loss surgery option. They include a rapid loss of weight and a long history of successful use in the United States. Gastric bypass sometimes results in a higher total average loss of weight than is found in patients who have undergone a lap band procedure.
The disadvantages of gastric bypass surgery are significant. The procedure is extremely invasive. Gastric bypass surgery results in more complications than lap band surgery, and patients who have undergone gastric bypass procedures have a difficult time absorbing essential nutrients from their food.
In addition, there are several negative side effects associated with the gastric bypass procedure, including “dumping syndrome” and medical complications. Reversal of gastric bypass surgery is very difficult, and gastric bypass surgery has a mortality rate that is ten times higher than lap band surgery.
What is Lap Band Surgery?
Lap band surgery is a weight loss surgery option that involves placing an adjustable gastric band around the upper portion of a patient’s stomach. This procedure restricts the amount of food the stomach can contain, because it restricts the size of the stomach. It also increases the amount of time it takes for food to pass to the intestines.
The lap band procedure works because it limits the amount of food a patient can eat, slows digestion, and reduces the patient’s appetite. This procedure does not interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Lap band surgery has many advantages, including being minimally invasive, adjustable, and reversible. There is a much lower risk for malnutrition. The short-term mortality rate for lap band surgery is one tenth the mortality rate for gastric bypass, making it a much safer weight loss surgery option.
The disadvantages of lap band surgery are that it results in slower weight loss than gastric bypass surgery, requires follow-up medical visits, and has a small risk of leaking or slipping.
The Life After Weight Loss Surgery
For those that are overweight and have battled countless hours, days, months, and even years of exhausting weight loss efforts, bariatric surgery has become the last result. For many who have struggled with weight loss over the years and are considering some type of surgery, it is important to realize what your life will be like after such a life changing procedure. Bariatric Surgery will change your life. Regardless of what type of weight loss surgery you get, it’s not a quick fix and will take time to adjust to your new lifestyle as well as how others will react to the “new you.”
After one gets bariatric surgery, their life literally changes drastically and requires significant commitment in maintaining your weight loss journey. You need to be ready for that drastic lifestyle change; this includes changing your eating habits completely to fit your new stomach. Other things to consider is life after weight loss surgery must become extremely active; you must engage in a steady exercise regimen. In addition, depending on how much weight you lost, you may need to have follow-up surgeries to get rid of the excess fat and skin that was left behind.
Types of Plastic Surgery to Get the Body you Want
More often than not life after weight loss surgery is filled with additional surgeries to get rid of the unwanted, saggy skin and excess fat. It is important to fully understand all of the different types of surgeries you may have to undergo in order to get your body in its ideal state.
Arm Lift: Arm lift surgery is one of the more common surgeries done after weight loss surgery. This particular post-surgical procedure will contour the arms to get rid of the “bat wings” you may have to live with, especially if you lost a significant amount of weight.
Full Body Lift: Getting a full body lift will tackle three major areas that are most often a concern for those that need to lose or already have lost a massive amount of weight. It improves the overall appearance of your thighs, abdomen, and buttocks. Some conditions include maintaining a stable weight for at least six months, eating healthier, and engaging in a stable exercise regimen.
Bra Line Back Lift: This post-surgery bariatric procedure is done to remove any fat rolls on your back that are seen either just above or below the bra line. This new innovative form of plastic surgery is performed so that all scars are hidden under the bra line.
Panniculectomy: This procedure is done after weight loss surgery and focuses on removing all excess skin and fat in the abdominal area that tends to rear after a significant loss in weight. In some cases the excess skin and fat can hang down below the knees, around the back area, and over the hips. This type of surgery should not be confused with a tummy tuck which removes excess skin and tightens the muscles in the abdomen; it only gets rid of fat and excess skin and does not involve tightening up any abdominal muscles.
Thigh Lift: This is also one of the most popular post-surgical weight loss procedures to get rid of the unwanted excess skin and fat in the thighs. This type of surgery does not only get rid of the excess fat and skin but it also tones and slims down your thighs immediately after surgery.
Post-Bariatric Surgery is common and usually a must if patients of weight loss surgery want to look and feel the way they really want to. National Bariatric Link, a website dedicated to Bariatric surgery, has helped thousands of patients learn more about weight loss and post-weight loss procedures, qualify for weight loss surgery, find the perfect bariatric and plastic surgeon(s) in their area, and even help in financing for patients who need it.
Pregnancy after weight loss surgery
Many women who opt to have weight loss surgery and wish to have children after, feel that life cannot go as they planned due to the procedure. Many women feel that it isn’t safe to become pregnant after weight loss surgery.
Approximately one half of all women who have bariatric surgical procedures done are between 18 and 45 years old, also known as the reproductive age. It is much safer to become pregnant after surgery; becoming pregnant while at an unhealthy weight can be life threatening to both you and your unborn baby as well as adding on many complications and health risks.
Life after bariatric surgery also comes with many psychological impacts. Anyone that experiences a drastic change either with their family, their job, or their physical appearance will suffer from some level of psychological and emotional changes. Preparing yourself mentally for what you will face after weight loss surgery will help ease the disappointment you may feel at first post-surgery. The point of getting procedure is to look good and feel better about ourselves; how can this happen if there is so much extra skin hanging off parts of the body? Getting used to the new you is a battle in itself.