myths and facts about bariatric surgery: Myths and facts related to bariatric surgery that one needs to know about

During the pandemic, people complaining of x kg of weight gain, and talking about different diet fads and exercises for weight loss was quite a talking point. But what about those who have been facing obesity for a long time now? Doctors often ask their patients to go for bariatric surgery if they face difficulty in losing weight. Though the surgery might sound a little scary to you, there isn’t any reason to be afraid of it.

Weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery is a popular treatment method for obesity. There are many myths and misconceptions about the surgery and its outcomes.

Obesity and the need for a bariatric surgery

Obesity means excess fat in the body. When the energy intake is more than the energy spent, it results in obesity. If a person goes through morbid obesity, that is the time when the person ought to face various health issues.

“For lower levels of obesity, there are very straightforward treatments like diet and exercise. But once our BMI (body mass index) goes beyond 30 with some medical problem or goes beyond 32 even without any medical problem, the patient is far beyond the reach of getting treated or cured by diet and exercise alone. This is the time when the person can opt for bariatric surgery to lose weight healthily,” says Bariatric surgeon Dr Manish Motwani.

Bariatric surgeries including gastric bypass, mini gastric bypass, laparoscopic bands, and gastric sleeves work by reducing the physical size of the stomach and curbing appetite by altering the hormonal signals between a patient’s stomach and brain.

But there are many myths surrounding these weight loss surgeries due to the lack of awareness. Here, Dr. Motwani busts a few myths:

Myth: Bariatric surgery is dangerous

Fact: Before undergoing bariatric surgery, or any surgical procedure, it is normal to have safety concerns. Bariatric surgery is an increasingly safe, effective, and simple procedure available to patients with a BMI of at least 30 or more with or without obesity-related health issues who cannot lose weight via diet and exercise alone. When compared to the risks of living with obesity including complications related to diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension and increased likelihood of premature death, the risk of bariatric surgery is minimal. However, patients who undergo weight-loss surgeries see improvement in their overall health. With further improvement in medical and surgical procedures due to modern science and technology, Bariatric weight loss surgery has become safe over the years.

Myth: Everyone can opt for bariatric surgery

Fact: There are certain indications, certain criteria based on age, gender, medical conditions, and food habits. The patient should have at least a BMI of 30 with some medical problems, even if he/she doesn’t have any medical problems. The most important thing is that the patient should have had attempts at weight loss. If a patient is not willing to make any effort then he/she will not be advised surgery as the commitment on the part of the patient is going to be much lesser. So, the patient should have attempted weight loss in the past. One more important thing is that the patient should not be having any untreatable psychological problems and the patient should not be having any untreatable endocrine or hormonal problem. Once the patient satisfies these criteria, he/she may become an ideal candidate for bariatric surgery.

Myth: Surgery is unnecessary as one can lose weight with diet and exercise

Fact: Diet and exercise are important, but they may not be enough for patients who are extremely obese.

Myth: Bariatric surgery leads to health problems in later life

Fact: This is not at all true. Not only does bariatric surgery take care of obesity but also helps with weight loss over a while, weight loss without complications, weight loss without side effects, and weight loss without nutritional deficiencies. But along with it, almost 70% to 80% to even 90% of the medical problems are resolved by the body.

Myth: Patients undergoing bariatric surgery will not be able to eat normal food after bariatric surgery

Fact: After Bariatric surgery, it is necessary to eat a little different but the right way. Your body needs to get adequate nutrients for the best results and keep you on track with your weight loss goal. This does not mean that you will have to give up on your favorite food items! The stomach is a pouch that acts as a holding tank for your food and beverages. Stomach muscles are strong and they help churn your food to help with the digestion process. Depending on the type of surgery the patient undergoes, the diet post-surgery is divided into various phases that include gradual changes in the texture of the food. This is to help your newly modified stomach to recover. Chew the food properly, stop when you feel full, have smaller meals, cut down on sugary foods and aerated drinks and maintain a good fluid intake.

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