Myths about Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

There are several myths surrounding the process of bariatric weight loss surgery – some of which are legitimate concerns for any surgical procedure. Weight loss surgery has made significant advances in the past few years, including minimally invasive and precise surgical methods. Surgery is the tool many people need to initiate their weight loss in order to make lifesaving changes.

Myth #1 – Weight loss surgery is too risky
Fact – In the past, surgeons made large incisions in the abdomen and executed the procedure without the assistance of laparoscopic technology. Research, technology, and practice have significantly advanced, allowing weight loss surgery to be a low-risk, minimally invasive option for patients struggling with obesity and other comorbidities.

All surgical procedures involve some risks, and speaking with a physician is the best way to determine if this procedure is right for you. However, for some patients, it may be riskier to avoid weight loss surgery.

Myth #2 – Weight loss surgery requires a long recovery period
Fact – Due to minimally invasive techniques, recovery time tends to be much shorter than other surgeries. Recovery varies depending on a patient’s physical health, but most are encouraged to get out of bed and start walking by the next day. Generally, patients are able to get back to work and light activity in two to three weeks.

Myth #3 – Weight loss surgery is the “easy way out”
Fact – Surgery should never be considered uncomplicated or unchallenging. Even if a patient receives weight loss surgery, it is not a quick fix. Successfully losing weight and keeping it off is a lifelong process. Patients must implement healthy eating habits and behaviors and remain committed to staying healthy. Weight loss surgery is not a cure but a tool to motivate a lifestyle improvement for long-term success.

Myth #4 – After surgery, eating will no longer be enjoyable
Fact – Although eating habits after surgery dramatically change, most patients find they can eat and enjoy a wide variety of foods in smaller quantities. Once your mind and body adjust to your new eating habits, you will find that eating continues to be satisfying.

Dr. Daniel Cottam
Bariatric Medicine Institute