I have heard a few people refer to gastric bypass as the easy way out (of diet and exercise). Maybe these people are the same ones who think a c-section is the 'easy way out' of child birth. I think I can safely sit here and say how untrue that is. Perhaps those people who have had weight loss surgery may want to do the same.
There are several kinds of weight loss surgery, from the lap band to the bypass. Although the lap band is gaining in popularity, the most common form of surgery is still the Roux-en-Y bypass. Doctors in America perform an astounding 200,000 of these weight loss surgeries every year. Makes one wonder if there will be any over-weight people left!
But before we celebrate the de-fattening of America, (particularly American women, who make up 82% of bariatric patients) what is less well known is the level of complications as a result of these surgeries. Although these complications are mentioned in all the fine print of the commercials we see on television and the brochures we see at the doctor’s office, most of us, including me, are unaware that “despite the growing popularity of obesity surgery — and the general perception that it’s a shortcut to thinness and good health — it’s no easy path. The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in Gainesville, Florida, puts gastric-bypass surgery’s death rate at between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 200. In one AHRQ study, 4 in 10 patients developed complications within the first six months, including vomiting, diarrhea, infections, hernias and respiratory failure. Up to 40 percent of gastric-bypass patients can suffer nutritional deficiency, potentially resulting in anemia and osteoporosis; seizures and paralysis have been reported in extreme cases. Some of these malnourished patients experience bizarre neurological problems…”
While gastric bypass is generally successful, literally saving lives and extending lives, many adverts and commercials would have people believe they’ll be dancing around in size 6 jeans within a year or two. Results show differently as “..although initial weight loss can be dramatic — gastric-bypass patients typically shed around 70 percent of excess weight — patients gradually regain 20 to 25 percent of what they lose. For people with extreme obesity, defined as having a body-mass index of 40 or greater, gastric bypass often merely shifts them into the obese category. Obese patients can drop to overweight status (a BMI of 25 to 29.9). Yet fewer than 10 percent of patients achieve a normal BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, reports Lee Kaplan, M.D., director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center in Boston. Altogether, weight loss surgery remains an uncertain proposition, and although potential patients must meet certain criteria (as the women interviewed for this article did), experts caution that the surgery is definitely not meant for the mainstream. “Because it’s risky, it’s only appropriate for a tiny fraction of people with obesity — the sickest 1 to 2 percent,” Dr. Kaplan says. “The idea that all obese people should get surgery is insane.” Yet that’s the way weight loss surgery is being peddled to the public.”
Weight gain is also a problem. Patients often see the pounds pile back on as they eat more again – for comfort, from habit and hormonal shifts – and stretch out their tiny stomachs. People need to know why they over eat, and solve that issue before worrying about fitting into cute outfits.
Patients thinking about weight loss surgery need to weight all the pros and cons and there are plenty of both, in addition to cosmetic surgeries later on, to counter sagging skin, breasts and other body parts that are affected by dramatic weight loss.
Bariatric surgery does indeed save and change lives but not everyone is a candidate and not everyone has a healthy outcome. Simply reading success stories will not give an accurate account of all the variables. People need to focus on the health aspects of the surgery rather than becoming slim and looking good. This surgery is too complicated and difficult for that. It is a lifetime commitment. Be an informed consumer!
Have you had (or are considering) weight loss surgery? What are your thoughts or results? Do you have an experience to share?
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