The Top Ten Facts about Weight Loss Surgery…that they don’t or won’t tell anybody

More and more today you hear about the wonders of bariatric weight loss surgery, and the benefits are many, but reality is sometimes a different beast. I am a two-time recipient of bariatric surgery. I had what is now known as lap-band surgery in 1994, and this last June has a gastric bypass revision procedure. The experience has both assets to report as well as liabilities. It is the liabilities which are today’s subject.

My first procedure went well and I was back to work in a few days. Overall I lost over two hundred pounds in about a year. The biggest problem I encountered was the change in lifestyle and the manner in which I ate meals. There was little counseling on the psychological issues and the malnutrition associated with the remarked change in the intake of food. This proved not to be a major issue and over the course of time I discovered I could eat more then they told me was possible. In the intervening years I gained back all the weight and an additional forty pounds. This, I came to find out when I inquired into the bypass surgery was due to the first surgery being done incorrectly, and my own efforts to circumvent the process. I learned how to cheat.

Having said that might send many to the next hub or webpage, but the information I share is of a helpful nature. These are things that most doctors do not tell you, and they would possibly affect the decision might make to have this surgery. Here are the top ten facts about weight loss surgery that they won’t tell anybody:

  1. Bariatric surgery is not for everyone. The original motive behind the development of bariatric surgery was to help people who are either Morbidly Obese or Super Obese. This was never a vanity issue. The surgery was designed to aid persons who have an obesity problem that is creating a serious danger to the patients’ health or life. There are many doctors who are now performing these procedures for persons who are not significantly threatened by their weight. The criterion for acceptance has been lowered to facilitate almost anyone who does not like their size or weight.
  2. Bariatric surgery is not a panacea and should not be looked at as such. These procedures are not quick fixes as they are represented. This is major internal invasive surgery and there are many things to take into account. Lap bands are not as invasive and most people do fine with them. Gastric bypass is much more serious and the recovery time can be significant. This last surgery I had (gastric bypass) took me much longer to recover from due to my age and other health problems. It is eight months and I still have days where I cannot go out and do anything.
  3. Bariatric surgery makes you become closer to your bathroom. In this case I am talking about the gastric bypass. In the first week after the surgery I experienced bouts of incontinence and had to be careful where I went and how available a bathroom is. I still have to think about this on a daily basis and the need to have a usable bathroom. (I need a handicap accessible facility) This is an unfortunate reality and is experienced by most of the people I know who have had this procedure.
  4. Bariatric surgery leads to other surgery. At eight months I have lost 150 lbs. I have skin hanging everywhere that has nothing beneath it to support it. Especially around my stomach. I had a follow up reconstructive surgery after the lap band and will probably have to again. The skin will grow to a point where it has no elasticity and will not recede as the weight goes.
  5. Again, bariatric surgery makes you closer to your bathroom, or some other handy receptacle. The reduction in the amount of food intake is so drastic that it takes some time to train yourself how to eat. If you don’t, and eat as you want, you will probably end up sick to your stomach and vomit. I had this problem many time with the lap band but have not had any trouble since the bypass. This time I am better informed and have been able to avoid it.
  6. Bariatric surgery will not tell you when to stop eating. For the first several months I did not have too much a problem with feeling hungry. I had to actively think about when it was time to eat. Over the course of time my body has acclimated to the new eating regimen. One of the things many do not know, especially those with a predilection to overeating is that it takes a normal stomach and person about twenty to twenty five minutes to realize they are full. While you are eating your taste buds and salivary glands work overtime to tell you when you should stop, but they are not able to resist the last two or three slices of that pepperoni pizza on the coffee table while you watch the game.
  7. Bariatric surgery will make you a health nut. In order to combat the realities of this surgery where it comes to your health and nutrition you must be prepared. Daily vitamins and supplement along with a high protein diet are vital. It is recommended that you consume 45 – 70 grams of protein a day. Carbohydrates must be eliminated as much as possible and sugar intake in excess will bring back the incontinence issue. Carbonated soda must be removed from your diet and any high caffeine drink must also go.
  8. Bariatric surgery will make you active. If you want to lose the weight that caused you to have the surgery, you must exercise every day. If all I do in a day is not eating much, I will not lose weight and might gain. Physical activity is essential to the process, however much you can handle.
  9. Bariatric surgery will make you lose weight, but not always the way you want it to. After a certain time the weight loss will change or slow down. It will also not act in a consistent manner. There will be times when you go days on end and not lose any weight. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, you will lose three or five and maybe even as much as ten lbs. overnight. It is important that you maintain the regimen of proper food intake, vitamins and exercise, and don’t try to starve yourself in order to get back on track with your weight loss.
  10. Bariatric surgery will change your mind. When you take food away from a Morbidly Obese, or Super Obese person it has a great emotional and psychological affect. You must remember that these types of obese people are addicted to food. This is an unfortunate type of addiction in that any level of abstinence has a direct physical affect. We need to eat…albeit not to the extent that the person ate before but the so-called “drug of choice” in a food addict cannot be eliminated or death is as certain as eating too much. It just takes longer. Emotional and psychological distress is common and there has been discovered a higher rate of suicidal thought and actions among bariatric patients. Most surgeons require a psychological screenings but do little after the fact that helps the patient cope with the changes in their life.

These are ten facts that I did not realize before either surgery. There are certainly more issues that can be discussed in the future. The bottom line is that the decision to have bariatric surgery is better made with the proper research and information.

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Comments 1 comment

Kay 4 years ago

Right there with you. And....with lab band unlike bypass, you learn to throw up on command when something doesn't hit the band right...even liquid! They don't tell you that either!

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