Facts About Bariatric Surgery

By Dr. Atul N.C. Peters in Bariatric Surgery / Metabolic

Nov 21 , 2022 | 2 min read

According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), nearly 23% of men and 24% of women had a BMI of 25 or more, which increases the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, heart and respiratory issues as well.

Depending upon BMI and medical condition, treatment of obesity may involve non-surgical or surgical methods.

Non-surgical treatment involves diet and lifestyle changes for people who are overweight, not obese. To treat obesity (BMI >30) or uncontrolled type 2 diabetes with BMI >27.5 and associated health issues, metabolic/bariatric surgery has proven successful. However, there are many myths about bariatric surgery, due to which people worry about undergoing surgery. Let's bust these myths and understand the facts:

  • Bariatric surgery involves the removal of fat from the body: No fat is removed during this surgery; rather, changes are made to the stomach and/or small intestine to produce a metabolic effect for the control of obesity & co-morbidities.

  • Patients feel weak after surgery: If you comply with the suggested diet, meet protein demands and take your nutritional supplements regularly, you wouldn't feel any weakness. Rather, you would feel more energetic.

  • People are unable to eat after surgery: No, you would be able to eat everything, though a gradual approach is followed to support the recovery. For the first 2 weeks, you will be on a liquid diet, soft foods for another 2 weeks, and eventually a normal diet. Due to the reduction in stomach size, you will be eating small and frequent meals; they will feel equally satisfying as you felt with larger portions.

  • I may develop serious health issues after surgery: No, rather, bariatric surgery helps in preventing/resolving NCDs.

  • After surgery, no need to follow any lifestyle changes: Surgery is not a magic wand, but a tool to help you reach your health goals. Good compliance is vital to maintain a healthy weight in the long term.

  • People regain weight in the long term: Most patients maintain >50% excess weight loss in the long term, which by definition is successful weight loss, however, 30 - 40% of patients may regain around 5% of weight, especially those who continue eating calorie-dense, low-protein foods.

  • Post-surgery bed rest is required: No, in fact, after a few hours of surgery, your surgeon will require you to get up and move around and take several walks the next day and thereafter. On discharge, you will be able to pursue your normal routine.

  • Surgery would leave a big scar: We perform laparoscopic and robotic surgery through small incisions. Post-surgery, the incisions are sealed with surgical glue and, after a few weeks, are scarcely visible.

  • Follow-up is not important: Although surgery is a few minutes' job, regular follow-ups are extremely important to attain your health targets and for long-term maintenance.

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