Weight loss surgery is major surgery. Although most patients enjoy an improvement in obesity-related health conditions (such as mobility, self-image and self-esteem) after the successful results of weight loss surgery, these results should not be the overriding motivation for having a bariatric surgery procedure.
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The most important step in weight loss surgery is getting all the information you need. You should make the decision to have weight loss surgery only after careful consideration and consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon. Your surgeon should answer your questions clearly and explain the exact details of the procedure, the extent of the recovery period and the reality of the follow-up care that will be required. When you ask a question, make sure you understand the answer. Do not hesitate to ask for a clearer explanation given in simpler language. As part of routine evaluation for weight loss surgery, you will also consult with a registered nurse or dietitian. This is to help establish a clear understanding of the post-operative changes in behavior that are essential for long-term success.
The decision to have a weight loss surgical procedure may take several visits to a doctor's office or consultation with more than one doctor. Ask your doctor for names of other patients who have had similar procedures and who are willing to discuss their experiences, good and bad, with you. If you choose to research weight loss surgery on your own on the Internet or at your local library, be sure that your sources are responsible, recognized experts in the field. An excellent resource for weight loss surgery is the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
It is important to remember that there are no guarantees in any kind of medicine or surgery. There can be unexpected outcomes in even the simplest procedures. Weight loss surgery will only succeed when the patient makes a lifelong commitment. Some of the challenges a person faces after weight loss surgery can be unexpected; lifestyle changes can strain relationships within families and between married couples. To help patients achieve their goals and deal with the changes that surgery and weight loss can bring, we offer follow-up care in the form of individual therapy and support groups led by our bariatric services teams. You will also receive nutritional follow-up counseling from a dietitian, telephone and e-mail support and continuing education opportunities.
Your decision to have the procedure is entirely up to you. After gathering all the information, you must decide if the benefits outweigh the side effects and potential complications. This surgery is only a tool. Your ultimate success depends on your commitment to the recommended dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes.