Common Misconceptions About Bariatric Surgery

Posted on: 14th Jun, 2024


Bariatric surgery, which includes gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, duodenal switch and gastric banding, among others, is often subject to various judgments and misconceptions. Let’s explore a few.

It’s the Easy Way Out

One common misconception is that bariatric surgery is an easy fix for weight loss. In reality, it’s a well-proven, safe, and effective medical treatment for the deadly conditions of obesity and diabetes. Is a knee replacement the easy way out for crippling degenerative knee arthritis? 

It’s Only for the Morbidly Obese

While bariatric surgery is sometimes associated in the media with severe obesity, it’s also demonstrably effective at improving health and prolonging life expectancy for individuals with a lower BMI – say over 30 – who have obesity-related health issues like type 2 diabetes or hypertension.

It’s Just About Vanity

Some people believe bariatric surgery is purely for cosmetic reasons. While weight loss can improve appearance, the primary goal is to improve health and quality of life by reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases. Every major health insurance platform, including Medicare, pays for bariatric surgery and considers it medically necessary, which of course has nothing to do with vanity.

It’s Dangerous

Studies show it is safer than not doing the surgery. Bariatric surgery lowers health risks, pure and simple. Advancements in techniques and technologies have made sleeve gastrectomy about the safest procedure commonly performed in U.S. hospital (think safer than C section, knee surgery, gallbladder, etc.). The benefits outweigh the risks for people with obesity and related health issues.

It’s A Cop-Out

There’s a misconception that individuals who opt for bariatric surgery lack willpower or discipline. However, obesity is a hormonally-driven condition influenced principally by genetic and environmental factors. Surgery is the only long-term proven intervention that prolongs lives because it changes the hormone profile in the bloodstream. It is a cop-out to the degree that cancer treatment is a cop-out for cancer. The best randomized studies show that over the long term, people are no more successful at resolving their own obesity than they are at resolving their own cancer.

It’s A Guaranteed Solution

While bariatric surgery usually leads to significant weight loss and improves health outcomes for the vast majority of patients, it’s not a guarantee of long-term success. People still need to make some effort to adhere to post-operative guidelines to maintain weight loss and health improvements.

It’s Only About Weight Loss

Bariatric surgery has numerous health benefits beyond weight loss, including improvement or resolution of conditions like type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.

It’s Reversible

While some procedures can be reversed or revised, many are considered permanent alterations to the digestive system. Patients should understand the long-term implications of the surgery before proceeding.

It’s helpful to address these judgments and misconceptions with accurate information and empathy, considering the complex factors involved in obesity and its treatment. And until you’ve walked a mile in that person’s shoes… If this is something you’re considering, the team here at Nevada Surgical is happy to answer questions about weight-loss surgery. Contact us today to learn more.

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