Bariatric Surgery: when knife is the choice

Know what to expect when you go in for a weight loss surgery. After all, it’s not just going to change your fat metabolism, but also your life!

knife cutting a pumpkinEven considering surgery as a weight loss tool is a significant step. And it's natural to feel scared or hesitant about the prospect of going under the knife. Knowing what to expect will help ease your anxieties.

Your first visit…

To begin with, make sure the centre you have chosen is a certified centre [centre of excellence] for metabolic and bariatric surgery. Ensure that the team is experienced and well-trained in the procedures they offer.

  • Don't go alone; take your loved ones with you. Together, you can do a better job of gathering the required information before taking the final decision.
  • Have a detailed discussion with the surgeon and the team. And be frank about your problems or questions.
  • Utilise your time in the waiting room by chatting with patients who have battled with similar problems as yours. Ask them about their experiences—how they went through the process of bariatric surgery and how they felt at different phases of their weight loss.
  • Understand all types of procedures available and why your surgeon is suggesting a particular procedure for you. Discuss its pros and cons. This will ensure that the procedure best suits your current lifestyle and health needs.
  • If you are concerned about your cosmetic appearance after surgery, discuss the possibility of undergoing advanced minimally invasive procedures—perhaps a single-incision bariatric surgery.

What to expect

In addition to weight loss, there are other health benefits that such a surgery brings about.

Young girls struggling with obesity often face menstrual problems due to the metabolic imbalance, which threatens their fertility. These problems could get resolved after the procedure.

Middle-aged individuals suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure, or deranged levels of cholesterols because of the excess fat around their waist lines, can expect a reversal or improvement of their existing conditions.

Seniors opting for surgery can expect to become independent in their day-to-day activities.

Before the surgery

You will have to undergo a complete health check and your doctor will suggest some exercises and dietary guidelines in addition to helping you control your health problems like blood pressure or high blood sugar. These steps help minimise risk during the operative procedure.

Mental preparations

It is not enough to convince yourself. Your family members—mom, dad, husband/wife should be convinced too. They should know in detail why the surgery is required and how your journey will be. You need to be able to assure yourself and others that not only are you ready for the change in life, but also welcome it.

Here, the allied health team at the centre will give you the much-needed support. It is strongly recommended that you attend support group meetings held by post-op patients who meet on a regular basis to share their concerns.

After getting to know other patients, their results and hearing their discussions about the problems or challenges they have faced in different phases after the surgery, you will come to know that bariatric surgery is not magic, but an effective tool for weight loss and reversal of associated diseases. Use that tool wisely, and success will be yours!

Questions to ask your doctor

  1. Explain in detail the kind of bariatric surgery I will be undergoing. And considering my health parameters, what is the worst that can happen in my case?
  2. How will the procedure change my digestive system?
  3. What kind of mental evaluation do I need?
  4. Will I need plastic surgery as well?
  5. Will the weight loss be immediate? How much weight do you expect me to lose over the next one year?
  6. What if I start gaining weight again? Will I require more surgeries?

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