Month: May 2019
In the forefront of virtually every patient’s mind, when they are about to undergo bariatric surgery, is whether it will be successful and they will lose a significant amount of weight. The short answer is that the vast majority of patients do very well and approximately 80% of patients will meet their long-term weight loss goals. While this success rate is far greater than the 5-or-so percent success rate of diet and exercise alone, many patients are still concerned about whether they will become one of the 20% who do not succeed. But let’s explore what success actually means.
First and foremost, the name “weight loss surgery” is not fully accurate or reflective of success after the procedure. Bariatric surgery is not about weight loss – losing weight is simply a very tangible and wonderful side effect. Our main goal is to improve or eliminate the diseases associated with morbid obesity. These are ultimately the causes of early death, significant lifestyle impairment, and serious emotional problems. And while most patients see and feel some of these downsides, there are many more that silently exist in the background. Type II diabetes, certain forms of cancer, heart disease, an increased risk of stroke, joint degradation, and many, many more may not be readily seen or felt on a day-to-day basis.
Bariatric surgery is a last resort
One of the comments we hear most often from our patients is that they simply waited too long to have bariatric surgery and they wish they would have done it sooner. Thinking back on the months and years when they were unable to tie their shoes, play with their kids or grandkids, fit into a carnival ride or airplane seat can be discouraging, as these are all things that they may be able to do now, often just six months to a year after surgery. It can be difficult to reconcile the fact that so many years were lost to this preventable and curable disease of obesity. Unfortunately, this is the case for most of our patients because they believed that bariatric surgery was the last resort. They spent years and thousands of dollars trying diets, supervised medical weight loss programs, and even pills to help them lose weight. But for most, the weight simply came back– sometimes even more so than before. This cycle is hard to break because, simply put, weight loss surgery has been branded as a last resort.