Reasons not to have bariatric surgery (Weight Loss Surgery)

Bariatric or weight loss surgery is a clinically approved procedure for helping individuals, usually obese to achieve weight loss. The benefits of the surgery are numerous but they also come with long-term side effects. However, before we delve into the reasons not to have bariatric surgery, let's learn about the various guidelines or requirements before you can be accepted for a weight loss procedure such as gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and adjustable gastric band.

1. Bariatric Surgery Requirements

Patients intending to do bariatric surgery must meet the below requirements:

Patients must meet the following criteria as per DHA Guidelines:

  1. Patients with BMI > 40 kg/m2 with or without comorbidities*
  2. Patients with BMI ≥ 35-39.9 kg/m2 with one or more comorbidities
  3. Patients with BMI ≥ 30-34.9 kg/m2 with two or more comorbidities

Comorbidities here mean the existence of more than one disease or condition within your body at the same time.

Below are the reasons not to have bariatric surgery

1. Surgery is expensive and not all insurance plans cover it.

Bariatric surgery helps in reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band, removing a portion of the stomach, or re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch.

While it might sound scary, it is usually a safe and effective method, particularly for people who are morbidly obese and have not been able to lose weight with traditional methods such as diet and exercise.

However, bariatric surgery is expensive because it involves the use of highly specialized technology and equipment, and unfortunately, not all insurance plans cover it.

The cost can range from $7,000 to $25,000 and may not be covered by insurance and the cost might shoot higher depending on the clinic or country.

Additionally, insurance companies may require the patient to meet certain criteria, such as having a BMI of at least 40, before they cover the procedure.


2. It is a major operation that carries risks and side effects.

While it is considered a less invasive and largely less risky operation, Bariatric surgery has some side effects such as dumping syndrome. 

Dumping syndrome is a condition where the food from the stomach gets dumped or finds its way erroneously into the large intestine without proper digestion. 

Hold on, do not freak, the good news is that dumping syndrome is not life-threatening but in extreme cases, it can cause severe malnutrition and drastic weight loss.

However, these conditions can be managed.


3. It is not a quick fix and will require long-term lifestyle changes.

Yes, as the headline suggests, the surgery is not a quick fix but a complete lifestyle change.

In fact, a 180-degree lifestyle change is key to guaranteeing the success of the process.

The surgery alone cannot be used as a fix for weight loss but must be paired with proper health, and eating small food quantities as part of the lifestyle.

So, having a gastric band or bypass is just part of the process but you need behavior modification such as eating at specific times and less calorie and keeping active.


4. There is no guarantee that the weight will stay off long-term.

Bariatric surgery can result in notable weight reduction in the first year.

However, some people may regain the lost weight over time. Some of the reasons for regaining weight after weight loss surgery include alterations in diet, not adhering to postoperative instructions, or both.

Research has demonstrated that a majority of individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery can expect some degree of weight regain.

Therefore, it is important that you are considering to be aware of this potential risk, as well as the potential complications associated with the procedure, in order to make an informed decision.


5. It does not address underlying psychological issues related to weight gain.

As stated in the introduction, weight loss surgery is an effective option for those who are morbidly obese and have a BMI of over 40.

However, you should note that the surgery does not address any underlying psychological issues that may have caused the person to become overweight in the first place.

These psychological issues may include emotional eating, binge eating, or body image issues.

Without addressing these issues, the person may be more likely to regain the weight they lost after the surgery.

It is worth noting to identify and address any psychological issues before, during, and after the surgery in order to ensure long-term success.


6. It is not suitable for everyone and should only be considered as a last resort.

From the definition above, bariatric surgery encompasses several weight loss surgeries aimed at permanently changing the digestive tract to limit food intake subsequently resulting in weight loss.
While it can be an effective tool to help individuals reach their weight-loss goals, it is not suitable for everyone and should only be considered as a last resort.
Some of the reasons for considering it as last resort include the fact that it is an invasive procedure with many potential risks and side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.
Additionally, bariatric surgery does not guarantee long-term weight loss, since it does not address behavioral changes or lifestyle modifications that are necessary for long-term success. Furthermore, it is expensive and not always covered by insurance.
For these reasons, it is important to explore all other options before considering bariatric surgery, such as diet and exercise, lifestyle changes, medications, and counseling.


7. It can cause nutrient deficiencies and require lifelong vitamin and mineral supplements.

Bariatric surgery can lead to long-term complications such as nutrient deficiencies.

Nutrient deficiencies are one of the main side effects of bariatric surgery. The body is unable to absorb as many nutrients from food after surgery, due to the alteration of the digestive system. This can lead to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

To prevent these deficiencies, it is important for individuals who have had bariatric surgery to take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement for the rest of their lives.

In addition, lifelong monitoring and follow-up with a doctor is recommended to help monitor for nutritional deficiencies and other possible complications.

It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery with a doctor before deciding if this type of weight loss surgery is right for you.


8. It may lead to serious complications such as infection, bleeding, or organ damage.

Bariatric or weight loss surgery is not recommended for everyone. It should only be considered after other means of weight loss have failed.

Potential complications from the surgery include infection, bleeding, or organ damage, all of which can be serious and life-threatening. 


9. It may have an impact on fertility or lead to additional medical conditions.

Weight loss surgery should not be taken lightly since it carries risks.

One of the risks associated with the surgery is that it may have an impact on fertility or lead to additional medical conditions.

Other risks include infection, hernias, nutritional deficiencies, and long-term weight gain.


10. It may cause hair loss, fatigue, and nausea in the short term.

Although bariatric or weight loss procedures can be a safe and effective way to lose weight, they also carry some risks.

One of the most common risks associated with this procedure is hair loss.

Many patients experience temporary hair loss after surgery because the body is undergoing a significant amount of stress.

Additionally, patients may also experience fatigue and nausea in the weeks following surgery due to the body adjusting to the changes made with the procedure.

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Date published: 22/09/2017
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