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Bariatric Surgery: Myths and Answers

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A woman is resting after weight loss training

While many patients worry about the risks or downsides of bariatric surgery, the health benefits of losing weight through surgery are numerous. Aviv Ben-Meir, MD, a board-certified general surgeon specializing in bariatric and metabolic surgery, discuss some of the common myths about weight loss surgery.

Myth: Bariatric surgery is the easy way out.

Fact: Many people living with obesity have tried to lose weight using several methods without success. Dr. Ben-Meir explains to all his patients at the beginning of their weight-loss journey that bariatric surgery will be successful only if they commit to hard work. Bariatric surgery is not a quick or permanent fix if the patient isn’t willing to dedicate effort to losing weight and keeping it off. Success after weight loss surgery requires dedication to a total lifestyle change that involves many physical and emotional challenges.

Weight loss surgery is a tool that helps patients lose weight and maintain their weight loss, but it does not do all the work. It helps patients feel full with a small amount of food. To maintain weight loss, bariatric surgery patients must maintain this. Having weight loss surgery is not taking the easy way out; maintaining weight loss is, unquestionably, hard work. Most patients keep the weight off with a combination of tools like support groups, follow-up appointments and easy access to their care team for ongoing support.

Myth: It doesn’t matter which surgery you get.

Fact: There are three primary types of weight loss surgery: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric band (lap-band) surgery. While each of these surgeries works to help patients feel full with a small amount of food, the best surgery for you depends on several factors. Making the right choice for surgery depends on many things.

Your best option should meet your health and safety needs, as well as your personal goals. Our team looks at indicators such as body mass index (BMI), associated medical conditions and prior history of abdominal surgery, along with anything else specific to your needs.

Myth: Surgery is a waste, you’ll regain the weight.

Fact: One of the most common questions bariatric patients ask is, “Will I regain my weight?” Everyone considering bariatric surgery naturally has this concern. Certainly, the answer is complicated. Statistics show that only 1 to 2 percent of patients who meet the criteria for weight loss surgery are successful in losing their excess weight with diet, exercise or medication alone. With weight loss surgery, 85 percent of patients are successful in maintaining at least 50 percent excess weight loss.

Myth: Bariatric surgery is cosmetic, so insurance will not cover it.

Fact: If you have health insurance, check to determine if your plan covers bariatric surgery. Increasingly, insurance companies are recognizing that people who are obese are more likely to develop health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure that impact both quality of life and longevity. Most insurance companies will need to confirm with your doctor that this surgery is medically necessary. If you have coverage, your care team can help determine what your cost will be based on your insurance plan’s deductible and out-of-pocket expenses.

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Whatever your weight loss goals, University Hospitals has a solution that will work for you. Our programs include weight loss surgery, non-surgical weight loss procedures, nutrition and diet-based programs. Our comprehensive team of experts can help you find the right program to achieve your weight loss success. Learn more.

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