Bariatric surgery can reward you in countless ways. But myths persist about the surgery and about obesity itself. Here, bariatric and metabolic nurse specialist Karen Schulz, CNS, shares facts you should know about weight loss surgery.
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- Obesity is not just a weight problem.
Obesity is a metabolic disease. Your metabolism slows so that you can remain severely overweight even when eating a modest number of calories.
- Surgery counteracts the metabolic changes.
After bariatric surgery, you can feel full and satisfied after eating just a small meal.
- The risk is about the same as the risk for gallbladder surgery.
The health risks of bariatric surgery are much lower than the health risks of obesity itself.
- Bariatric surgery is an emotional experience.
That’s why you get psychological as well as nutritional support beforehand.
- Its health benefits go beyond weight loss.
Bariatric surgery often improves high blood pressure, sleep apnea, joint pain and type 2 diabetes.
- Surgery can cure newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and have bariatric surgery, you may not need to start insulin shots.
- In most states, government insurance covers the surgery.
Many people don’t realize Medicare and Medicaid often cover weight loss surgery.
- You’re unlikely to get a big scar.
The two most common bariatric procedures involve three to five incisions that are 1/2 to 1 inch long.
- Recovery from surgery is surprisingly fast.
You’ll be back at a desk job in two weeks and at any job four weeks after bariatric surgery.
- For 1-2 months after surgery, eating is work.
Eating slowly becomes pleasurable again as swelling recedes and you get used to smaller portions.
- You’ll want to minimize liquids during meals.
This allows room for solid foods and minimizes discomfort.
- Bariatric surgery is a journey, not a destination.
Most people lose half their extra weight during the six months they prepare for surgery and the rest over six to 12 months after surgery.
- Success rates are ~ 85% five years after surgery.
Bariatric surgery has helped millions maintain their weight loss. But because it’s been around since the 1970s, it’s not unusual to run into people who did not succeed in keeping weight off.