Popular myths about bariatric/weight-loss surgery (WLS) run the gamut from horror stories to fairy tales. In reality, these procedures are neither as awful nor as fantastic as they’re usually made out to be. Unfortunately, the very place where we often go for knowledge – the internet – is a grab bag of conflicting information when it comes to weight management and obesity. Luckily, Dr. Shawn Tsuda has the facts in an area riddled with fiction.
Myth: Bariatric surgery is a quick fix for obesity.
Fact: Bariatric surgery is a tool that can aid in what will be a lifelong commitment to health. It is designed to remedy a lifetime of problems that can shorten one’s lifespan and decrease one’s satisfaction with his or her current situation in life. Morbid obesity is dangerous. The fix is for life. It requires dedication and commitment. The surgery, recovery, and lifestyle changes that accompany WLS require both courage and determination on the part of the patient.
Myth: Bariatric surgery is only for the morbidly obese.
Fact: Obesity is only one of the criteria that qualify patients for surgery. Overweight patients may also be candidates if they have one or more health problems that might be reduced or alleviated by weight loss. Diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, arthritis, and high cholesterol are examples of such weight-related health conditions.
Myth: You will finally be skinny after bariatric surgery.
Fact: Most patients do not lose all of their excess weight. Losing just 50 percent of excess weight and keeping it off is considered a success story. The health benefits in reducing weight-related problems like sleep apnea often occur even in patients who don’t lose all the weight they would like.
Myth: Weight loss from bariatric surgery is permanent.
Fact: Some regain is likely. A patient might lose 150 pounds and gain back 30 to 50 pounds. Part of this is simply the body adjusting to the “new norm” and learning to store fat even on a very restricted diet. In the best case, some of the gain might be muscle from getting more exercise. At other times, a patient’s failure to adhere to the post-surgery lifestyle recommendations plays a role.
Myth: After bariatric surgery, I won’t have to worry about diet or exercise anymore.
Fact: Patients will need to continue an exercise and diet regimen to maintain their health moving forward. Approximately 20 percent of patients will see some weight regain after surgery. This typically occurs in patients who disregard their dietary intake and exercise.
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering WLS, contact Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his expert team can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.