Expectations After Bariatric Surgery
You’re going to do it! You’re having weight loss surgery and you are suitably excited. You know that bariatric surgery has been proven to help people lose weight, but you’ve also been cautioned that surgery is not a magic bullet that simply zaps away that excess weight. This is why it is so important for us to discuss patient expectations of bariatric surgery. Before you read on, take a moment to gather your thoughts and the current expectations you have of your surgeon and the procedure you’ve chosen. You may even wish to write them down and discuss them with your bariatric team to ensure that they are realistic. In the meantime, we will go over a few key points before your consultation.
On the positive side, you can expect:
- Depending on the procedure, the typical patient will lose 25% to 80% of their excess body weight. Make sure you know what your target body mass index is. Not all procedures are the same and your situation will be unique. That’s why a consultation is so important.
- Your obesity related conditions, i.e. high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, etc., will completely resolve or greatly improve as you lose weight.
- You will save money on prescription drugs and doctor visits if your comorbidities are improved or resolved.
- Pregnancy after bariatric surgery will be safer than it would’ve been before. In fact, weight loss surgery often cures weight-related infertility.
- You will have to buy new clothes. This is a positive if you like to shop. If you don’t, you may like it a bit more after seeing the changes in your body and feeling considerably less stressed and insecure in a dressing room.
On the challenging side, you can expect:
- You will have good and bad days. Most days, you’ll be glad you had surgery. There will be other days when you may think, what have I done? This is normal. Weight loss surgery is not easy and is a lifelong process. The goal is to live in moderation and within certain guidelines that our practice will set for you and help you maintain.
- You will have to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle (nutrition & exercise) if you want to ensure the success of your surgery. This will take some getting used to, but the payoff will be extraordinary.
- Unhealthy food cravings may not go away after surgery. If you give into those cravings, you may increase the risk of complications and reduce your opportunity to reach your goal weight. You have to train your mind in the same way as you train your body – one day at a time.
- You won’t see results overnight. You will most likely reach your lowest weight 1 to 3 years after surgery (depending on the procedure). Slow, consistent weight loss is safer and more sustainable, although admittedly sometimes more frustrating.
- Bariatric surgery has become much safer over the recent years, but it’s still major surgery. As with all surgery there are risks that will be discussed during your consultation.
As mentioned above, bariatric surgery is an effective tool if you use it well. It is not the easy way out, but it can be amazingly effective, ultimately opening doors for you to live a healthier, happier life.