Bariatric surgery is a life-altering solution for severe obesity that has been known to reduce or cure weight-related diseases and improve longevity and quality of life.
Surgery alters how your body breaks down and absorbs food, altering hormones that may reduce hunger and satiety levels – all of which can contribute to weight loss.
Table of Contents
1. It’s a long-term solution
Weight loss surgery (also referred to as bariatric surgery) is an important step in the fight against obesity. Not only can it result in significant weight loss and improved sleep quality, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, less need for insulin injections, and better management of diabetes are some of the other health advantages that come with having this procedure done.
Weight loss surgeries that work are those designed to shrink your stomach and alter how you digest food. Options like gastric sleeve, bypass surgery and duodenal switch all aim to limit food consumption in an effort to shed pounds.
Although surgery is certainly a landmark, the real benefit comes in the form of long-lasting improvements to your health and quality of life. Many patients no longer require insulin, their blood pressure and cholesterol levels have improved, and they experience an enhanced sense of wellbeing.
Another advantage of bariatric surgery as a long-term solution is that it can be combined with diet and lifestyle modifications to maintain your weight loss progress and prevent overeating. To assist you in making these adjustments, we offer monthly bariatric support groups and other programs designed to assist you on the challenging journey towards weight loss success.
Decide if bariatric surgery is right for you by speaking with an experienced weight loss specialist and having all of your questions answered. Learn more by reading our Bariatric Surgery FAQ page or calling us at 847-335-7000. Additionally, we invite you to come visit our Center for Obesity Treatment and Research to see firsthand what surgery can do for you.
2. It’s not a quick fix
Bariatric surgery can provide a long-term solution for people who are severely overweight and suffering from health complications caused by their weight. It may also prevent and treat diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver disease and other related illnesses.
Weight loss surgery can offer some impressive advantages to some individuals, but it’s not a quick fix and requires lasting changes in how you eat afterward. In addition to altering your eating habits, you may need to take supplements and adhere to other stringent requirements as well.
Before surgery, surgical candidates typically go through extensive psychological testing and learn about portion control, what a 3.5-ounce piece of meat looks like and other healthy food choices. These skills can help them make healthier food decisions throughout their lives and prevent the relapse of obesity after surgery.
Contrary to popular belief, bariatric surgery is not a one-size-fits all solution and requires significant commitment. Patients must commit to making lifestyle changes and should anticipate being on a diet for the rest of their lives.
Therefore, patients need to develop a new level of discipline and willpower. They must commit to abstaining from foods that cause weight gain and eating the correct number of calories at each meal.
These habits can be challenging to learn and may not come naturally to most people. Therefore, it’s essential that patients seek support from a trained counselor before and after surgery.
Most patients experience gradual weight loss over the first two years. However, as their bodies adjust to the new dietary habits, some of that lost weight may eventually return.
Maintaining weight loss requires adhering to a nutritious diet and regular physical activity. While this may prove challenging for some individuals, it’s essential for overall good health as well as preventing serious illnesses or other complications associated with obesity.
Though the stereotype that bariatric surgery is an “easy” fix persists, refocusing conversations about this option to take a more positive outlook can be beneficial. Group facilitators – both face-to-face and online – could be especially helpful in this regard.
3. It’s not for everyone
Weight loss surgery can offer numerous health advantages, but it’s not suitable for everyone. Some individuals are either too heavy or have other medical issues that make the procedure unsafe.
When considering bariatric surgery, your first step should be finding a qualified physician who can advise you on whether this procedure is right for you. They must either be board-certified in this specialty or possess extensive experience performing bariatric surgeries. Furthermore, they should be willing to collaborate with you long-term after your procedure has taken place.
Before undergoing bariatric surgery, your surgeon will run a series of tests to make sure you’re healthy enough for the procedure. These assessments will identify nutritional needs and any diseases that could be made worse by obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
You’ll be given instructions on how to prepare for surgery, such as cutting back on calories or starting an exercise program. You may also need to abstain from certain foods and stop smoking alcohol or cigarettes.
In addition, you’ll need to form new habits that promote health after surgery. These could include eating smaller meals several times a day, drinking more water and exercising regularly. Furthermore, seek support from family and friends who can motivate you along the way.
Many bariatric surgery patients create new social circles to support their new lifestyles, yet some must adjust to the loss of some old friends who are unwilling to change. This can cause some stress and anxiety for some.
Finally, some patients experience depression or anxiety after losing so much weight. Fortunately, these symptoms usually subside after the initial shock of losing so much weight has worn off.
Bariatric procedures, although sometimes costly and requiring surgery, have proven safe and effective for a wide variety of patients. Not only can they reduce or even eliminate certain diseases like obesity-related conditions like type II diabetes, but they can also significantly improve quality of life for their users.
4. It’s not free
Before considering bariatric surgery, you’ll need to make some major financial decisions. First and foremost, decide if you want to utilize your health insurance or pay out-of-pocket for the procedure itself.
The good news is that you may be able to obtain coverage under the Affordable Care Act or through your state’s exchange. Furthermore, some insurance companies provide discounts for certain types of weight loss surgeries.
To get the best price on surgery, you’ll need to select a surgeon within your insurance network. If the procedure is covered by your policy, you may only have to pay for a small copay or deductible.
Budget-minded patients may be able to finance their procedure through third-party financing. Many weight loss surgery centers can assist you in finding a lender who will offer an affordable loan for the cost of your operation.
Tax breaks could be available for bariatric surgery expenses if it can be proven that it was medically necessary. Most likely, you would be able to deduct a substantial portion of these costs as medical expenses on your taxes.
As a last resort, you might be able to leverage your employer’s wellness program for coverage of some or all bariatric surgery costs. While this option requires more work than paying out of pocket directly, it could still provide an effective solution to your dilemma.
Before deciding to undergo weight loss surgery, there are many other options to consider. Speak with a knowledgeable healthcare professional who can assist in comparing the costs of different procedures and finding one that best meets your requirements.