Dr. Kevin Tymitz Debunks 5 Weight Loss Surgery Myths
You’ve tried everything – upping the exercise, ditching carbs, counting calories – and nothing seems to work. Now, you’re considering weight loss surgery, because you think it’s the easy way out.
Myth #1: Weight Loss Surgery is Dangerous
Decades ago, weight loss surgery was considered a high-risk procedure because it involved a large, open incision, but now “they’re all done laparoscopically, through the same tiny incisions,” Dr. Tymitz points out. “The chances of wound infection and post-op hernia will be extremely low – not zero, but close to – so that’s one of the major things that has changed bariatric surgery throughout the years.”
The three types of weight loss surgery include Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding, Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy and Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding is technically considered to be the least invasive bariatric surgery because it does not involve any cutting or stapling.
However, he reminds patients that any type of surgical procedure involving going under general anesthesia runs the same risks, which can include: myocardial infarction, stroke and pulmonary embolism – among others.
Myth #2: Weight Loss Surgery Involves an Extensive Inpatient Hospital Stay
Weight loss surgery used to involve a four or five night hospital stay, but now that these procedures are performed through tiny incisions, that’s usually no longer the case. “We’re doing a great job of getting people of out of the hospital post-op, day one – even after a bypass,” Dr. Tymitz explains.
Myth #3: You Are Bedridden for Weeks After Weight Loss Surgery
Dr. Tymitz does suggest that patients take as much time off work as they can after surgery; however, this is to make sure people develop a routine of getting the required amounts of protein (60 to 80 grams per day) and fluids (64 ounces per day).
“It’s not because of post-operative pain, or that you can’t get up and move around, because that’s not true,” he points out. “You’re up and moving around [on] day one.”
On the other hand, weight loss surgery patients should wait four to six weeks before doing any strenuous physical activity, which is the standard recommendation for any surgery – not just bariatric.
Myth #4: Weight Loss Surgery is Only Performed for Weight Loss Purposes
While yes, there are set guidelines – including a particular body mass index (BMI) – to determine whether an individual qualifies for weight loss surgery, pre-existing comorbid conditions also play a role. “It’s not all about making them skinny. It’s not cosmetic surgery.” Dr. Tymitz says. “We’re doing it to make people healthier.”
Weight loss surgery – gastric bypass, in particular – can help improve a variety of medical conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
In order to qualify for bariatric surgery, you must:
- Have a BMI greater than 35 with co-morbid conditions (like type 2 diabetes or hypertension)
- Have a BMI greater than 40
Myth #5: Weight Loss Surgery is a Permanent Fix
Weight loss surgery is one of the most effective tools for losing weight; however, exercising and maintaining a healthy diet are a must, Dr. Tymitz says. “There’s still a lot of hard work on the part of the patient.” When it comes to diet, he suggests:
- Eating the right portion sizes
- Eating foods high in protein (aim for 60 to 80 grams of protein per day)
- Eating small meals throughout the day
- Drinking plenty of water (aim for 64 ounces per day)
TriHealth Weight Management also offers monthly support groups to help keep patients motivated before, during and after their weight loss journey. Learn more.
Last Updated: April 24, 2013