Is Bariatric Surgery Worth It?

If you struggle with obesity or obesity-related health complications, you may be wondering if bariatric surgery is worth the time and money involved. Researching the subject on the internet can turn up glowing reviews of weight loss surgery, while other results may create confusion, fear, and more questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bariatric Surgery

Knowing the facts about bariatric surgery can help address any questions or concerns you may have. The following are some of the most common questions that may arise as you research bariatric procedures:

  1. Am I eligible for weight loss surgery? You may worry that preexisting health issues may preclude you from weight loss surgery, but this is not the case. Most individuals seeking a bariatric procedure suffer from significant health issues due to obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc. To qualify for weight loss surgery, you must have a BMI over 40 or a BMI of 35+ and a health condition related to obesity. However, individuals with a BMI over 30 are eligible for a gastric plication procedure like The Wrap.
  2. What are the prerequisites for surgery? After meeting the minimum requirements for weight loss surgery, your surgeon will order several tests, including blood work, an EKG, a chest x-ray, and other tests specific to your health. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to undergo a sleep study for sleep apnea or a psychological evaluation. Your surgeon may recommend that you meet with a nutritionist as well to help you establish healthy eating habits prior to surgery.
  3. What are my options for weight loss surgery? The most common weight loss procedures include gastric bypass surgery, laparoscopic banding, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric plication. Gastric bypass surgery separates the stomach into two sections, leaving a small portion for food consumption. Laparoscopic banding involves placing a band around the stomach to reduce how much food you can consume. Sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve) removes a significant portion of the stomach to create a smaller, sleeve-shaped stomach. Gastric plication involves creating large folds in the existing stomach to reduce its size.
  4. Which weight loss surgery is best for me? You and your surgeon will make this decision during your consultation. All bariatric procedures are laparoscopic surgeries, meaning they use tiny incisions. This reduces recovery time as well as the risk of infection.
  5. How successful is weight loss surgery? Most patients (75-80%) experience long-term weight loss success following bariatric surgery. Long-term studies show that patients can lose 50-60% of their excess weight and keep it off for over a decade. Depending on the procedure, patients can lose 30-50% of their excess weight within six months.
  6. What is recovery like after weight loss surgery? Depending on the procedure, you can expect to stay 2-4 days in the hospital. After that, it typically takes 1-2 weeks to resume driving and to return to work. If your job is physically demanding, it may take up to six weeks before you can return. You’ll also have several post-op appointments in the first year after surgery and then one or two appointments a year to monitor your progress, health, and address any concerns.
  7. How much weight will I lose? It’s common to lose 50-100 pounds or more in the first year after bariatric surgery. While it’s possible to lose 2-3 pounds per week, one pound a week is more typical. However, how much you lose and keep off depends on your commitment to making a lifestyle change. You will need to adhere to a special bariatric diet and exercise regularly.
  8. Can I afford bariatric surgery? The price tag associated with weight loss procedures can seem daunting. However, the total cost is often less than purchasing a new car. Additionally, many insurance companies provide coverage for bariatric surgery, so it may cost you a great deal less than you expect. You can reach out to your insurance provider to learn more about your specific policy.

Most patients experience weight loss success after bariatric surgery. Losing weight often resolves obesity-related illnesses as well, which makes the procedure well worth the investment. If you’re struggling to lose weight or are experiencing health issues due to your weight, bariatric surgery may be for you. Contact us to learn more about bariatric surgery for weight loss.

5 Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving After Bariatric Surgery

Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s become synonymous with overindulging on decadent food with family and friends. Given how well-established this tradition is in many households, bariatric patients aren’t likely to change their family’s viewpoint on the matter. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a family Thanksgiving after weight loss surgery. With the proper planning, you can eat and mingle over the holidays without feeling left out or breaking your diet.

Some of the biggest hurdles surrounding Thanksgiving for bariatric patients relate to the nature of their new diet. Your anatomy changes after weight loss surgery, meaning your stomach may not tolerate the same foods as it could before. You’ll also need significantly less food to feel full. Sugary, fatty, and carb-heavy foods can be difficult to digest or lead to dumping syndrome, which is the last thing you want on Thanksgiving Day. However, depriving yourself of delicious food isn’t the solution either.

Achieving Balance

You can use the following strategies to help you stick to your bariatric diet and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal:

  1. Offer to host Thanksgiving. This may sound like a tall order, particularly if you’ve never prepared a Thanksgiving meal before. However, it allows you to control the menu to a certain degree. You can find a plethora of bariatric-friendly Thanksgiving recipes online that use smart substitutions. You can include traditional Thanksgiving favorites that align with your new diet by using low-sodium, low-fat, or sugar-free ingredients. Resist the urge to forewarn your guests about the healthy nature of your dishes. This helps break the incorrect correlation many people hold between healthy and boring.
  2. Give away your leftovers. If you decide to host Thanksgiving Day, you will still have to deal with the leftover food. Your new stomach can only handle so much food at once, and your sides and entrees will likely spoil before you can eat them regardless. If you have takeout containers ready to go, you can load up guests with leftovers to take home with them. If you’re not hosting, bring any dishes you prepare in disposable aluminum pans rather than reusable baking dishes. This will prevent you from feeling obligated to bring the leftovers home with you.
  3. Give yourself three minutes. If your surgery was recent or you’re still learning which foods upset your new anatomy, this rule can save you from a stomachache. For new foods, take a single bite and chew it well. Use mindful eating tactics to notice the texture, flavors, and so on. Then wait three minutes. This may seem like a pain, but your new stomach will let you know within minutes if it can’t tolerate a specific food. If all goes well, proceed with caution, and stop if you start to notice any upset.
  4. Allow yourself three bites. The most important nutrient following bariatric surgery will always be protein. However, Thanksgiving meals often boast a cornucopia of starches. Denying yourself every savory side dish or sweet treat will leave you grumpy and unpleasant to be around. You can’t enjoy visiting with family and friends if all you can think about is that piece of pie you can’t eat. Assuming you’ve learned your new anatomy and what foods you can tolerate by the holidays, allow yourself three small bites after getting your protein first. If you’re not sure or don’t want to risk the temptation to overeat, you can bring a bariatric-friendly dessert as an alternative.
  5. Find good conversation. While food features heavily on Thanksgiving Day, congregating with loved ones is another critical element. Set down your fork when you’re done and catch up with a relative you haven’t seen in a while. You can also see if anyone wants to go on a post-dinner walk to be active on a typically sedentary day. If you’d rather avoid the temptation of dessert altogether, you can time the walk for when your host begins to break out the pie.

Having strategies in place like the above can help you navigate Thanksgiving Day after bariatric surgery. If you’re considering weight loss surgery or have questions about bariatric procedures, we can help. Contact us to learn if weight loss surgery is right for you.

 

Is Bariatric Surgery Right for Me?

With COVID-19 keeping many people at home, some individuals decided to use the downtime to kick start new diets or at-home exercise routines. However, as the pandemic stretched from weeks into months, many lost their motivation. Maintaining enthusiasm is a common struggle among dieters as many fail to see measurable results despite weeks of healthy eating and exercise.

Why Some People Struggle to Lose Weight

A quick scan of diet and exercise communities online will yield a common complaint—losing weight is hard boarding on impossible for some. When people see others lose weight or inches while they stagnate, it’s difficult to see the point in continuing with their health and fitness journey. Several factors contribute to the issue of slow to no results:

  • Metabolic problems. Many people complain about their metabolism slowing with age, but there is more to it than that for people who struggle to lose weight. Most overweight people no longer have the feedback mechanism that tells them they are full. This often means they experience constant hunger, which goes well beyond simple willpower.
  • Insulin resistance. The pancreas produces insulin, which helps decrease blood sugar and fat after meals. It then directs those excess calories to muscle cells to use as fuel. However, when muscles become insulin resistant, those calories redirect to fat cells. This creates the vicious cycle of constantly feeling hungry and needing to eat to refuel only to have more calories wind up in fat storage.
  • Metabolic syndrome and prediabetes. As individuals accumulate more fat, their liver and pancreas grow fatter as well. This interferes with the body’s ability to produce insulin, which causes average blood sugar levels to rise. Once an individual tips over their Personal Fat Threshold, health problems like prediabetes can worsen to full diabetes. Individuals may begin to experience heart and liver health issues as well.

Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery

When individuals weigh 100 pounds or more over their ideal weight (BMI of 40), losing weight becomes vital to improving their long-term health outlook. The same is true for individuals with a BMI of 35+ and a serious health problem related to their obesity such as Type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea. However, these same individuals will have a disproportionately harder time losing weight than people slightly over their ideal weight would. Because of this, these individuals are good candidates for bariatric surgery.

How Bariatric Surgery Works

Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix, as individuals will still need to make lifestyle changes to stay healthy and keep the weight off for the long term. Because there is often a hefty price tag associated with the procedure, many people wonder if bariatric surgery is covered by insurance. While each insurance provider is different, many do offer coverage for the procedure as it will reduce health expenses later on by improving the individual’s health and reducing their risk of obesity-related diseases.

However, many insurers require a six-month pre-surgery period to ensure that the individual can receive proper education and tools to overcome poor eating habits, to commit to eating small portions, and to understand that overeating on a regular basis will sabotage weight loss despite the surgery.

There are several bariatric surgeries to help individuals achieve significant weight loss, many of which focus on reducing how much food it takes for the individual to feel full. By eliminating the feeling of constant hunger combined with better eating habits and exercise, many individuals experience dramatic weight loss in the first six to 12 months following the surgery.

Key factors that determine successful weight loss following bariatric surgery include:

  • Individuals will need to increase their activity following the surgery to maintain results. For people who led sedentary lives prior to the surgery, this often means starting with walking for five minutes a day until they can comfortably walk for half an hour.
  • Eating high-quality foods. Sugary foods will run through the digestive system quickly after surgery, leading to nausea or diarrhea. Instead, once individuals are back to eating regular foods following the surgery, they will need to eat foods high in protein. They will also need to limit snacking to two or three times per day or they risk undoing the effects of the surgery.
  • Avoiding caloric, sugary beverages. Many people fail to realize how many calories they consume through their drink choices. Even if individuals stick to the appropriate number of ounces they consume following bariatric surgery, high-calorie drinks can derail weight loss while excess sugar can contribute to ongoing insulin resistance challenges.

If you’re struggling to lose weight and health issues are starting to give you significant concerns, bariatric surgery may be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

 

What Happens After Weight Loss Surgery?

Undergoing bariatric surgery is a life-altering event for many people. After struggling unsuccessfully to lose weight, many overweight individuals feel defeated and hopeless about losing the excess pounds. However, health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and more loom on the horizon for overweight individuals. As a result, many people struggling with obesity or weight-related health problems turn to bariatric procedures when traditional weight loss methods fail to produce measurable results.

Is Bariatric Surgery Safe?

Like all surgeries, there are risks associated with undergoing bariatric procedures. However, individuals can take several steps to reduce these risks including smoking cessation if they smoke, exercising regularly, and decreasing their BMI by adhering to the post-operative diet instructions surgeons provide. Surgeons will discuss all the potential risks involved with bariatric surgery with individuals prior to their procedure. However, for most individuals, the long-term health benefits outweigh the risks. Most bariatric surgeries will include follow-up appointments at the three, six, and one-year mark. However, there may be additional visits if the surgeon or the individual raises any concerns.

How Much Weight Will You Lose?

Ask your doctor exactly what you can expect. It usually depends, in part, on what you weigh now and the type of surgery you get. For example, Patients weighing as little as 15-20 pounds over their ideal body weight have raved about the WRAP procedure.  View some testimonials.

Sleeve gastrectomy is becoming a more popular weight loss surgery. People who get sleeve gastrectomy lose about 40% of their extra weight.

On average, people lose 60% of their extra weight after gastric bypass surgery.

First Month After Weight Loss Surgery

Most individuals will begin a liquid, protein-centric diet immediately after surgery. At the two-week mark, many individuals begin eating soft or pureed foods like cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal. Individuals should also begin walking at this point. The duration depends on the pre-existing fitness of the individual. Individuals should build up their strength until they can walk half an hour a day without issue. For individuals with joint pain, water aerobics is a good alternative.

There may be a few complications during the first thirty days after surgery. Constipation is common from a combination of prescription painkillers and dehydration. Some individuals may experience vomiting, which is often because they’re eating too much. Investing in a food scale can help individuals learn the proper portion sizes. Infection can occur at any incision site as well so proper wound care and hygiene are vital.

One to Three Months After Weight Loss Surgery

This post-operative phase is when many individuals begin to reintroduce regular foods to their diet. Certain procedures require a longer period before beginning regular food back into rotation than others do. However, the end goal is the same—to see which foods the person can tolerate. Some foods won’t sit well after bariatric surgery; individuals can retry those foods every month or so. This period is often difficult for many people as it’s challenging to retrain the brain to accept a smaller amount of food. Investing in smaller plates can help as they visually trick the mind.

Six Months After Weight Loss Surgery

At this point, individuals who adhered to the plan laid out by their surgeon will have lost a significant amount of weight. Most individuals lose 1-2 pounds per week following bariatric surgery, which equates to a 25-50 pound weight loss at the half-year mark. For many, this represents 30-40% of their excess weight. If surgeons note any issues like vitamin deficiencies or insufficient weight loss at this point, they will want to see the individual again at nine months post-surgery.

12 to 18 Months After Weight Loss Surgery

By this stage, many people are close to their weight loss goals. Depending on the type of bariatric procedure, individuals may have lost 100+ pounds by the one-year mark. If weight loss stagnates, surgeons will discuss diet and lifestyle with the individual to determine the reason such as excessive snacking or insufficient exercise.

Strict adherence to diet guidelines and proper exercise are pivotal to the ongoing success of bariatric surgery. The results can dramatically transform the individual’s health for the better, but it’s not a quick solution or an effortless one. Feel free to contact us if you want to learn more about weight loss surgery.