There are a lot of options when it comes to weight loss surgery, and myths and misconceptions are common. Here are 7 things you need to know before considering bariatric surgery:
1. Bariatric surgery is not a silver bullet
2. There are different types of bariatric operations
3. It matters what you eat
4. Keyhole surgery is still significant surgery
5. Bariatric surgery will effect what and how you eat
6. Bariatric surgery will not make you hate food
7. Weight loss is difficult
Bariatric surgery is not a silver bullet
Bariatric surgery is effective for long term weight loss, but surgery on its own is not a silver bullet. It’s important for patients considering bariatric surgery to understand that successful weight loss requires a comprehensive team approach and long term lifestyle changes. A weight loss team will include the surgeon, the patient and their family, as well as GP, dietitian and psychologist.
There are different types of bariatric operations
There are a number of different types of bariatric operations, including gastric bypass, gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. Each type has benefits and disadvantages, and it is important that patients consider the options in consultation with their health care team. Choosing the right type of surgery involves the information gathered from the pre-operative assessment and other medical conditions, as well as an element of patient choice.
It matters what you eat
A common misconception is that because bariatric surgery restricts the amount of food that can be consumed, that a person can then eat whatever they want. This is false. The effectiveness of weight loss surgery can be impaired by poor food choices and behaviours. Therefore, after surgery it is important to follow a nutritious eating plan set out by a dietitian so that weight loss can be achieved and maintained.
Keyhole surgery is still significant surgery
Predominantly all weight loss surgery is done laparoscopically, also known as keyhole surgery. This means that the surgery is carried out through a very small incision using specialist techniques and instruments, making it as minimally invasive as possible. However, all surgery has its risks and comes with pain, and time off work or other activities to recover. The good news is that recovery time from keyhole surgery is much shorter than for other types of open operations.
Bariatric surgery will effect what and how you eat
While it is fairly well known that bariatric surgery will affect how much a patient eats, it’s important to realise that what and how a patient eats will be affected as well. After bariatric surgery, slow and mindful eating is essential, as are small portion sizes. Depending on the surgery, certain foods—such as those high in refined sugar—will make patients feel particularly unwell. To avoid this, patients will need to follow a nutritious eating plan prescribed by a dietitian and maintain this as a permanent lifestyle change.
Bariatric surgery will not make you hate food
Bariatric surgery will not make a person hate food, although certain foods they may have once enjoyed (such as those high in refined sugar) will be off the menu. Rather, patients learn to eat slowly and mindfully, really paying attention to the food they are eating and savouring each bite. Not only does this approach help the body require less food, it also leads to greater satisfaction and enjoyment.
Weight loss is difficult
Many people considering bariatric surgery have tried multiple methods over many years, and may be disheartened with their level of success. As we know, surgery is not a silver bullet. Patients also need to understand that weight loss of any kind is difficult and takes time. Being mentally prepared for the challenges of the long-term weight loss journey will help a patient’s chances of success.
If you are considering weight loss surgery, there are some things you need to understand. It’s important to bust any myths and misconceptions you may have, and to work with your health care team to determine if bariatric surgery is right for you.
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