Alabama Bariatrics & Minimally Invasive Surgery

Bariatric Diet Orbera Gastric Band Sleeve Gastrectomy Gastric Bypass

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791

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What You Should Know Before You Get Bariatric Surgery

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is always a good thing to do, especially if you’re obese or overweight. Quality of life becomes much better, you get to avoid all the health risks that come with obesity, you become healthier both physically and mentally, and more. So bariatric, or weight loss surgery, must seem like a godsend. Why suffer obesity in silence when there’s a series of procedures that could “hack” your body into losing weight?


What is involved in bariatric surgery?

In a nutshell, bariatric surgery induces long-term and increased weight loss in the body by performing a number of procedures on the gastrointestinal system. All of these procedures involved in bariatric surgery are classified into three types: blocking, restrictive, and mixed. They either outright block the absorption of food or restrict how much one eats by shrinking the size of the stomach.

One of the most common bariatric procedures is the gastric bypass, in which a part of the stomach is cut away, effectively shrinking its size and reducing the amount of food a person eats. Other restrictive procedures include the insertion of gastric bands in the body, which involve tying up the stomach and creating a bottleneck that also reduces food and nutrient intake.


Risks involved in bariatric surgery

While bariatric surgery seems tempting, like most, if not all procedures it is not without its own risks. Although the procedures involved with bariatric surgery have already been tried and tested to many stellar results, it’s always best to inform yourself of all the risks (as well as benefits, for those who still need to be convinced) that come with bariatric surgery.

The biggest risk involved with bariatric surgery is not death nor complications during the procedure since they’re generally safe, but rather the pain and discomfort you will inevitably suffer after it. Since bariatric surgery is not cosmetic at all, but essentially changing the way the gastrointestinal system your body works in order to change your lifestyle as well, there will be a lot of physical and emotional adjustments to make. There will be a lot of pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and low energy to deal with, as well as a long list of medications to take in order to address all of that.

The physical toll the procedures take on your body will fuel the emotional toll, and the stress it can put a person through can affect their life and relationships in many ways.

If you’ve been coping with stress in your life by eating, then bariatric surgery and the dietary restrictions that come after it will remove those cravings, and you’ll have to find another way—a healthy way—of dealing with everything. Remember, this surgery is not the same as a liposuction, and you’ll still have to put in the effort into losing weight, such as the aforementioned dieting as well as proper and regular exercise.

The procedure also puts patients at risk for developing a new addiction, such as alcohol or other dangerous substances, as they can no longer turn to food.

And speaking of coping, if your weight or appearance has been making you depressed and is the cause for your weight loss surgery, those feelings of depression may not entirely go away after the procedure. They can even worsen along with the physical pain.

While this isn’t a relatively big deal, it’s also important to remember that you will likely need to undergo cosmetic surgery from all the excess skin left by your increased rate of weight loss. Though the procedure is set up to make your weight loss gradual (as opposed to liposuction) you may still end up losing weight faster than your body and skin can adjust.


The benefits of bariatric surgery and losing weight

Despite these possible drawbacks, if you need it, bariatric surgery may be the best thing you can do for yourself.

While the risks of the procedures themselves are low and the implications of post-surgery life are present, not only is there a greater chance that you will live longer, but there’s also a greater chance that you’ll live a better life. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery reveals in a study that remaining obese and staying at risk for all the health problems that are associated with it is more dangerous than undergoing bariatric surgery and enduring all its necessary post-procedure adjustments.

Your better-looking and more mobile and functional post-bariatric surgery life will also be a huge confidence boost. Most bariatric surgery patients generally list down a low self-esteem—along with the usual health risks—stemming from their weight, and an improved appearance definitely helps in that area. When weight loss is faster and much easier, it also follows that it’ll be easier for you to get into shape.

Conclusion

If you’re still on the fence, just know that despite the risks, it’s because of the benefits that people swear by bariatric surgery and its effects. Many say they’d go through it again.

So if you or your doctor is considering bariatric surgery to alleviate weight problems, then it’s best to start building a support system that will get you through all its challenges. Without a capable and reliable support system to help you through the worst of times, the chances of your post-surgery life turning out badly will go higher, and that will be a whole new set of costs in themselves.

Without the proper counseling, preparation, and adjustment, the lifestyle changes that come with bariatric surgery may negatively affect your relationships. a study conducted by the National Center of Biotechnology Information revealed that divorce rates went up among couples in which one partner underwent a bariatric procedure.

If you’re located in HHuntsville, Alabama, book a consultation on bariatric surgery with Dr. Suggs to see if this procedure is right for you. As with any other medical and surgical procedure, it’s always best to consult with your doctor and discuss all your options.

While you can’t get bariatric surgery without the green light from your doctor, make sure you are sufficiently informed about any and all procedures they’re recommending for you.