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Any surgery you go through has an associated risk with it, however bariatric procedures have a similar risk to that of the removal of a gallbladder. In fact, according to studies Bariatric procedures have a 99.9% survival rate which makes it a very benign option. It truly can be said that it is more dangerous to remain obese than it is to go through a bariatric surgery.

The Gastric Sleeve and the Gastric Bypass have come to be two of the most beneficial and long lasting procedures in the pantheon of bariatrics. The dietary limitations are less stringent and there is less follow up required. These surgeries provide patients with improved health, greater weight loss and a lesser recovery time than other procedures.

Determining factors

It should be mentioned that a bariatric surgery alone will not have the permanent effect a candidate may be looking for. To maximize the effectiveness of such surgery, the individual must make permanent changes in his or her lifestyle along with the procedure. Eating habits and an active lifestyle will have a direct bearing not only on how much weight the patient will lose, but on keeping the weight off for the long term. Another determining factor will be the type of surgery the patient chooses as well as their BMI. Depending on the mentioned factors a patient may expect to lose 25 lbs or 124 lbs in a period of 1-2 years which highlights the need to closely follow the instructions your doctor, surgeon and nutritionist provide for you.

There are consequences to rapid weight loss, if you have seen before and after pictures you will notice that skin tends to sag. This is a normal aspect of post bariatric life since the skin elasticity cannot keep up the speed of the lost body mass. The solution many patients have found is cosmetic surgery to remove the excess skin and tighten multiple body sections to better fit the patient’s new frame.

Health Improved

Some of the health benefits associated with bariatric procedures are significant since they improve conditions that are either life-threatening or carry with them pain and discomfort that directly affects the quality of life. These include obesity-related conditions like high blood pressure, joint pain, diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, arthritis, cholesterol levels, hypertension and many others. It is no hyperbole to say that having a bariatric procedure changes a person’s life.

If patient’s insurance does not cover the two highlighted procedures, they can expect to pay out of pocket between $18,000 & $25,000. Most insurance plans cover these procedures along with the Duodenal switch and the Lap-band.

Discipline is a must

Before the bariatric procedure the patient must follow a specific diet to qualify for the surgery. The medical team should provide specific guidelines according to the patient’s characteristics. But more significant still are the dietary restrictions the patient must follow after they have had their surgery. Because of this it is recommended that the patient begin transitioning to this type diet before the surgery so as to ease the change. Failing to do so can negate the intended benefits if the bariatric surgery, such as re-stretching the stomach, re-gaining the lost weight, malnutrition, hair-loss, digestive issues and others. The avoidance or reduction of alcohol intake is another “down-side”, the strict adherence to vitamin, protein and fluid intake is another feature that will require discipline. And an exercise routine should now be a part of the patient’s life.

The recovery period is fairly quick, most patients return home 3 days after their surgery but full recovery may take up to 6 weeks. Pain should be minimal with medication.

In summary, making the decision of having a bariatric surgery is a major step in improving a person’s life. It is a courageous moment in the life of the individual who chooses to no longer be a victim to a circumstance but rather, proactively face it head on, aware of the challenges it entails but more importantly of the mental, physical and social benefits this procedure will have. Congratulations to all who decide to take this step!

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