Do you think of weight-loss surgery as your first and only way to shed some pounds? Think again! This should be your last weight-loss option.
Nearly all of us are looking to shed a few stubborn pounds from time to time. However, for some people, the challenge is more than just losing a little weight to fit into a skimpy bikini for a summer beach trip.
For some of us, losing weight is crucial in order to maintain a certain level of good health and quality of life. In these situations, weight-loss surgery may be recommended. But is it truly the best option?
What Is Weight-Loss Surgery?
“Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries make changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight by limiting how much you can eat or by reducing the absorption of nutrients, or both,” Mayo Clinic explains.
“Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries are done when diet and exercise haven’t worked or when you have serious health problems because of your weight.”
There is an array of various kinds of weight-loss surgeries, which are collectively referred to as bariatric surgeries. Common types include:
- Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS);
- Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty;
- Gastric bypass;
- Intragastric balloon;
- And sleeve gastrectomy.
Weight-loss surgeries are typically recommended when the individual faces potentially life-threatening health issues as a result of his or her weight. These may include such conditions as:
- Heart disease;
- High blood pressure;
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease;
- Severe sleep apnea;
- Type 2 diabetes;
- And stroke.
The Risks Of Weight-Loss Surgery
Weight-loss surgery can be effective, but it’s invasive. Weight-loss doctors will spit out a series of positive statistics about success rates and the like.
However, the truth is that these procedures come with a lot of baggage. Risks include:
1. Medical Malpractice
The weight-loss industry is booming. Though many of the doctors and specialists in this specialty are genuinely interested in helping their patients obtain a better quality of life, there will inevitably be some who cut corners in anticipation of capitalizing on the high demand.
This can lead to shoddy procedures, which runs the risk of ending in medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when a health professional fails to do what a reasonably prudent and competent professional would have done in a similar situation with similar circumstances.
For victims of malpractice, the pain and complications can be enormous. These situations require extensive legal work and often take months or years to untangle.
2. Acute Problems
When a mistake or complication occurs during or immediately after a weight-loss procedure, the results can be painful and/or catastrophic.
Some of the acute risks associated with these procedures include:
- Excessive bleeding;
- Leaks in the gastrointestinal system;
- Blood clots;
- Breathing problems;
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia;
- And even death.
3. Long-Term/Chronic Issues
Even if there are no immediate negative side effects, weight-loss procedures can lead to long-term chronic health issues.
Depending on the individual and the type of surgery, the results may include such unwelcome conditions as:
- Bowel obstruction;
- Dumping syndrome;
- Low blood sugar;
- And stomach perforation.
4. Ineffective Results
While most weight-loss surgeries work out fine, it’s not uncommon to hear of a situation in which the procedure didn’t produce significant results. Take gastric-band surgery as an example.
It’s possible for the band to erode into the stomach and result in inadequate weight loss. This isn’t painful, but it means the entire surgery was largely a waste.
Healthy Living: The Preferred Alternative
Are there times when weight-loss surgery is the best option for someone? Absolutely.
Should a weight loss procedure be the first, second, or even third choice for losing weight? Probably not.
The best type of weight-loss surgery is no surgery at all. Most people are better off pursuing healthy lifestyle choices.
For 99 percent of the population, doing the following seven things will result in significant weight loss within weeks:
- Quit alcohol and tobacco.
- Eliminate highly processed foods from your diet.
- Consume only fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean meats.
- Limit your caloric intake so it’s less than the calories you burn per day.
- Get at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of fresh, filtered water per day.
- Get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
If you take on all seven of these lifestyle changes for a month and nothing happens, then you have a better reason to speak with a medical professional.
Certain medical issues or biological factors may mean weight-loss surgery is your best option. However, you don’t want to make this decision lightly.