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5 misconceptions about bariatric surgery that must be debunked right away

Published on:16 July 2021, 09:30am IST
Bariatric surgery is a great way to lose excess weight, but it also comes with a whole set of misconceptions. It’s time to bust them all today!
Dr Nanda Rajaneesh
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It’s time you stop believing myths around bariatric surgery. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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There are a number of reasons that can lead to a high body mass index, resulting in obesity. The reasons can vary from genetic history, hormonal changes and mental wellness, along with bad lifestyle habits. The sudden changes in work and life during the pandemic has caused a number of lifestyle changes, including a lack of physical activity and unhealthy sleep routines. 

Being overweight is often thought to be the only health concern related to obesity. But there are a number of studies that prove that it can contribute to the rise of other diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, high cholesterol and depression. 

While workouts and a healthy diet can help in maintaining the weight, people who need to lose more than 50 kilograms can find it particularly difficult to achieve the desired weight loss. Bariatric surgery has gained prevalence in the last few years, as it provides a long term solution to the condition. The surgery works by reducing the storage capacity of the stomach, which also means that the intake of food will be lesser. In some cases, the surgery limits the absorption of calories by the body resulting in weight loss. 

There are different types of bariatric surgery,  gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are the most popular procedures. Depending on the family and medical history of the patient, doctors may suggest the best option. While the procedure has become popular in the last decade amongst patients, there are several myths and misconceptions surrounding bariatric surgery and its outcomes.

Myth: Bariatric surgery is a cosmetic surgery like liposuction

Bariatric surgery is not a cosmetic surgery like liposuction. Instead, it is metabolic surgery that helps to reduce the size of the stomach and divert the food from the stomach to the intestines. It reduces nearly 80 percent of the total body weight and treats several health-related ailments like gastrointestinal problems, hypertension, diabetes, fatty liver, etc, while reducing the chances of cardiovascular disorders.

Weight loss surgery has always been considered “medically necessary.” This means that weight loss surgery is not considered cosmetic. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Myth: Bariatric surgery is risky

Just like every other surgery, risks are associated with this surgical procedure but the recent advancements in technologies has significantly reduced risks associated with bariatric surgery. In fact, the risks related to bariatric surgery are similar to that of a routine gallstone removal. 

Myth: Bariatric surgery induces weight loss, because patients lose appetite

When a patient undergoes this surgical procedure, there are hormonal changes affecting a human body like reduction in the appetite hormone named ghrelin. This causes the patient to feel satisfied after the intake of small meals, while reducing the capacity of calorie intake. 

Myth: People might gain back weight after the surgery

Most people who undergo the procedure will lose upto 50-100 pounds in one year. Several long term studies have shown that after ten years the majority of patients managed to keep the weight off, in comparison to people who lost weight without the surgery.

Bariatric surgery does not cause you gain weight. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Myth: It presents challenges in conceiving children

Women who undergo bariatric surgery are advised to avoid getting pregnant for two years after surgery. The simple reason is that surgery is aimed at inducing weight loss and pregnancy will require the opposite from the body. Most patients will reach a plateau of weight loss after two years and can continue to have healthy pregnancies. Also, weight loss can help improve fertility and pregnancy health . 

The last word

Bariatric surgery is a simple solution for long term obesity, especially for people who have been defeated by it. Being overweight causes a significant level of social anxiety, besides a number of health conditions. A balanced diet paired with regular physical exercise is the key to leading a healthy life but with patients who have a medical disorder or hormonal fluctuations surgery is an ideal option.  

Dr Nanda Rajaneesh Dr Nanda Rajaneesh

Dr Nanda Rajaneesh, General and Laproscopic Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore