5 things to know about weight loss surgery

April 10, 2023 | by Mark Choh, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

When you’ve tried unsuccessfully to lose weight and are living with obesity, it’s normal to feel discouraged.

We are beginning to understand the complexity of obesity as a disease, and how the struggles of weight management often becomes much more complicated than the traditional mantra of “eat less and exercise more.” This is because obesity is a metabolic disease with complex physiologic, hormonal and genetic components in addition to the well-established link between behavior and weight.

Nonsurgical methods may not be enough for everyone. The good news is there is another promising option.

While it involves some life adjustment, bariatric (weight loss) surgery could lead to a healthier, more active life.

Bariatric surgery can help you lose weight in a number of ways. Most people understand how the operations aim to reduce the size of the stomach, limiting the amount of food you can eat and how you digest it.

However, the procedures also can change the way your body digests and absorbs food, as well as how your body signals when you’re hungry, when you’re craving something sweet and when you’re full after eating.  It is through these mechanisms that bariatric surgery can have an effect on weight loss.

It can be a lifesaving change to life as you know it.

If you’re thinking about bariatric surgery, keep these points in mind:

  1. People who undergo weight loss surgery see sustained weight loss, as well as improvements in other markers of health, such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Many people with type 2 diabetes can stop medication as their blood sugar and A1Cs come into normal range, often as soon as immediately after surgery.  Those with sleep apnea see reductions in symptoms and can often eventually sleep well without the use of a CPAP machine.
  2. Weight loss surgery is not a substitute for healthy eating and consistent meal planning. Our multidisciplinary team helps patients prepare for surgery through extensive nutrition education and counseling.
  3. Most people recover quickly from weight loss surgery. Bariatric surgeries are performed laparoscopically, a technique that uses smaller incisions that help you recover faster. Typically, patients stay in the hospital overnight. They are mobile the day of surgery and often back to a fairly normal activity level by a week or two. Full recovery can take 1-2 months, but by then not only do most feel like they’re well recovered from surgery, they’ve also lost enough weight that they feel improved mobility from where they were preoperatively.
  4. You don’t have to go through it all alone. Even after surgery, patients continue long-term follow-up care to help them meet their weight loss goals and ensure there are no major issues postoperatively. Edward-Elmhurst Health also offers free support groups for bariatric surgery patients.
  5. This is a big decision. Learn as much as possible about the procedures available as well as what to expect before, during and after surgery, prior to scheduling.
    While any surgery carries a chance of complications, the risks associated with bariatric surgery these days are very small. If complications occur, they are often treatable and typically don’t result in long-term problems.

At Endeavor Health® Weight Management of Edward-Elmhurst Health, we do our best to ensure bariatric patients have help and support every step of the way!  Our team strives to provide the resources and tools to help you succeed, starting from the day you contact our team with interest in surgery, through the preoperative process and the surgery and its recovery, but especially in the months and years beyond your surgery to help you maintain the success you attain.

As with any health condition, education and understanding your options is of utmost importance. If you are interested in learning more about bariatric surgery, or having a consultation with one of our surgeons, we ask that you attend one of our bariatric surgery seminars. The seminar will give you a fairly comprehensive overview of our philosophy, the different surgical options, and an overview of the process leading up to the surgery.

Find a list of upcoming bariatric surgery seminars given by one of our board-certified surgeons, including myself, Ryan Headley, MD and Wayne Yang, MD. We would love to help you determine if weight loss surgery is right for you.

Not sure what weight loss option is right for you? Join us for an upcoming educational webinar, “Why Weight? Know Your Options Seminar, where our weight loss specialists talk about the wide range of options for weight loss guidance, including bariatric surgery, medical management, exercise and nutrition resources. Learn more and register.

If your weight is putting your health at risk and other weight loss methods aren’t working, bariatric surgery may be the answer for you. Learn more.

Related blog:

When is it time for bariatric surgery?

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