By Ayotunde Adeyeri, MD, FASMBS, Medical Director, Sterling Surgicare, Holmdel & Old Bridge, NJ
I could easily spend the rest of my days debunking all the false information out there regarding the chronic condition of obesity and bariatric weight loss surgery.
These days, while we are safely hunkering down at home, I’ve received many questions from patients sharing links to some crazy—often even dangerous—advise someone in the internet universe erroneously posted.
This month, I’m sharing factual information for anyone considering a surgical weight loss option:
1. Myth: Bariatric surgery is the ‘easy way out’
Fact: Obesity is a medical condition caused by genetics, metabolism, lifestyle choices, endocrine disorders, other medical conditions and medications. People with the chronic disease of obesity have a resistance to traditional weight loss through standard diet and exercise.
2. Myth: Medical insurance won’t cover weight loss surgery
Fact: Medicare and the majority of private insurance companies now cover weight-loss surgery. (They know that if you lose weight, you will have fewer medical conditions, reducing your overall healthcare costs).
3. Myth: Bariatric surgery is a risky operation
Fact: Today, the complication rate after weight loss surgery is about 4%, with a mortality rate of under 1%. Studies also show bariatric surgery may reduce a patient’s risk of premature death by 30-50%. (ASMBS 2019). Very obese people are at far greater health risk living with type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, cardiac conditions and elevated cancer risk.
4. Myth: After bariatric surgery, I can eat whatever I want in smaller portions.
Fact: Even before surgery, our patients commit to making long-term lifestyle improvements to speed weight loss and maintain it after goal weight is achieved. Working with a bariatric nutritionist, you’ll learn that sugar and processed foods consumed in the past are no longer necessary. Your post-op desire for high-quality food improves and your previous craving for ‘fake food,’ such as candy, cakes, chips and soda drinks will be eliminated.
5. Myth: If my lap-band failed, there are no other bariatric options for me.
Fact: Not true. Revision bariatric surgery changes the lap band to a newer and more efficient procedure, which is typically the gastric sleeve or RNY gastric bypass. Revisions are often suitable for patients who had medical issues after the operation, did not achieve the desired weight, experienced marked weight gain, or were unable to manage the ongoing maintenance requirements for the lap band.
6. Myth: Gastric sleeve and gastric bypass require a prolonged recovery.
Fact: Modern bariatric surgery uses a minimally-invasive surgical approach consisting of small incisions, which significantly speeds improved recovery time. It also reduces blood loss and post-operative pain. Most patients stay in the hospital 2-3 days and return to work within a few weeks to a month.
Anytime you read or receive questionable or confusing information about weight loss, obesity or bariatric surgery, feel free to reach out to your bariatric healthcare team or your primary care doctor for accurate, professional guidance.
I encourage you to do everything you can to continue to boost your immune system—eat real food of high quality, move your body every day, stay hydrated, devote additional time every day to an activity that helps you reduce stress, sleep 7 hours a night. Stay home, stay safe.
Learn more about the different types of surgical weight loss performed exclusively at Sterling Surgicare: https://sterlingsurgicare.com/surgical-specialties/metabolic-bariatric-surgery/
If you are battling medical issues because of your weight, call (732) 217-3897 to speak with our bariatric team and schedule a private consultation to speak with Dr. Adeyeri.