Do You Have Questions about Bariatric Surgery?

Weight loss surgery patients who come to our facility in Tijuana, Mexico, often share common bariatric surgery questions when they begin researching information on the available procedures to help them lose weight. Most patients want to know how much their chosen procedure will cost and how long results typically last. Our well-trained, dedicated staff will answer all questions, concerns, and inquiries on how weight loss surgery can help you shed extra pounds and provide you with further information during an in-depth consultation. Becoming an informed and proactive participant in your care can help you separate the truth from myths and misconceptions and make the very personal decision of whether weight loss surgery is right for you.

Here are the Top Myths and Misconceptions About Bariatric Surgery

Oftentimes when researching medical weight loss, patients are faced with a wide range of bariatric surgery myths and misconceptions. Separating fact from fiction can be nearly impossible on your own, especially with the prevalence of sites and forums dedicated to the subject. The team at Tijuana Bariatric Center in Tijuana, Mexico, can educate you, which is an integral step in determining whether you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery. Patients ranging from younger adults to seniors can benefit from this advanced weight loss treatment.

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Misconception: Bariatric Surgery is a Fast and Easy Way to Lose Weight

Surgery is a useful tool for patients struggling to lose a large amount of weight, but the surgery alone will not help patients achieve long-lasting results. Patients must have realistic expectations and an understanding that lifestyle changes, such as dieting and more regular exercise, are also necessary if they hope to maintain their weight loss.

Myth: Diet and Exercise Should Be Sufficient

We often hear how frustrated patients are after having been told by friends and family that they "just need to try harder." The truth is, many obese individuals have already tried diet and exercise measures, and even supplements and medications. Yes, diet and exercise can help patients achieve long-term success, but it is just a piece of the puzzle in the weight-loss journey. In addition, the doctors who work within the Tijuana Bariatric Center network only approve patients who have thoroughly exhausted other methods of weight loss.

Myth: Bariatric Surgery is Dangerous

All surgical procedures carry a certain level of risk, which includes complications like infection and even death. However, with advancements in surgical techniques and technology, bariatric procedures are the safest they have ever been. For many patients, their obesity-related illness, which often includes life-threatening conditions, may be an even greater concern. According to a recent study which involved 60,000 bariatric surgery patients, the risk of death within 30 days of the procedure was 0.13 percent, or approximately one out of 1,000 patients. This number is much lower than most other surgical procedures, including hip replacement surgery. Research has also shown a significant decrease in mortality rates for bariatric surgery patients due to specific obesity-related diseases, meaning the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Myth: Pregnancy is Impossible Following Bariatric Surgery

According to the Obesity Action Coalition, it is advised that patients wait at least 18 months following their surgery before getting pregnant. The surgery should not affect the ability to conceive, carry a baby, or give birth, but a patient’s weight needs to have stabilized prior to pregnancy. Because some techniques affect how the body receives nutrients, patients should also work closely with their doctors to ensure they receive an appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals. Certain supplements may be recommended.

Myth: Patients Often Develop Drinking Problems

Following surgery, patients often become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, but according to studies by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, only a small percentage of patients have issues with alcohol. Typically, if a patient exhibits extreme drinking habits prior to their surgery, their drinking behavior may continue. Before considering bariatric surgery, these individuals should first seek help for their problem.

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Bariatric Surgery FAQs

How Do I Know if I am a Good Weight Loss Surgery Candidate?

How Will Surgery Help Me Lose Weight?

How Much Weight Can I Expect to Lose?

How Long Will the Results Last?

How Many Days of Work Will I Miss?

How Long Do I Need to Wait to Exercise?

Do Most Patients Need Plastic Surgery After Losing Weight?

Do Bariatric Procedures Cause Hair Loss?

Will I Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements?

How Do I Know if I am a Good Weight Loss Surgery Candidate?

Prior to gaining approval for any type of surgery or making travel arrangements, each patient will undergo a thorough evaluation with our bariatric surgeons to determine their candidacy. Important considerations include age, body mass index (BMI), overall health, and the presence of any and your expectations regarding the results that can be achieved through weight loss surgery.

In 2022, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders updated standards for bariatric surgery patients. BMI continues to be the benchmark for general qualifications but has been lowered to 35 or over for candidates whether or not they have serious health problems, like high blood pressure, heart disease or sleep apnea related to obesity, or a BMI of 30 if patients have tried and been unable to sustain significant weight loss.

How Will Surgery Help Me Lose Weight?

Bariatric surgery helps patients lose weight using two different techniques: restriction and malabsorption. Several procedures combine both restriction and malabsorption for patients who need to lose more significant amounts of excess body weight.

  • Restrictive Surgery: Weight loss surgeries such as gastric sleeve and SILS work by limiting the amount of food that can enter the stomach. By physically restricting the size of the stomach, the number of calories a patient can consume is limited.
  • Malabsorptive Surgery: This procedure type, which includes roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery, is more complicated as it changes how food is absorbed by the digestive system. A bariatric surgeon will remove part of the small intestine and reroute the gastrointestinal tract so the body absorbs fewer ingested calories.

How Much Weight Can I Expect to Lose?

We can give you no precise answer. Weight loss depends on your starting weight and your medical problems. However, According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, most bariatric surgery patients can expect to lose 60-70% of their excess weight after the procedure.

How Long Will the Results Last?

According to the National Institutes of Health, most will sustain long-term weight loss as long as patients remain compliant with healthy dietary and exercise habits. Following the procedure, patients will receive instructions on how to start exercising and eat healthy foods and maintain good habits to promote lasting results. We also recommend ongoing nutritional counseling.

How Many Days of Work Will I Miss?

Various factors will play a role in determining how long the recovery process will take, including the type of bariatric surgery you undergo, your work duties, and your body's natural ability to heal. Most patients will stay in the hospital after the surgery for one to three days. According to the ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery), most patients can return to work within one to two weeks following their bariatric procedure.

How Long Do I Need to Wait to Exercise?

The primary goal during the recovery period is to ensure that patients heal in a timely manner, suffer no complications, and can return to their regular activities as quickly as possible. Although we understand you may be anxious to become more active, it is typically recommended that patients start exercising through low-impact movements, such as walking for 20-30 minutes a day. The Bariatric and Metabolic Institute recommends that the intensity of your workouts can slowly increase beginning six weeks after your weight loss surgery.

Do Most Patients Need Plastic Surgery After Losing Weight?

After losing most of their excess weight, many patients may have loose or sagging skin.before and after bariatric surgery - woman Sometimes, this condition is temporary. Loose or sagging skin depends upon several factors, including how much weight you lose, your age, genetics and whether or not you exercise or smoke. Patients can hide loose skin with clothing or compression garments. Wait at least 18 months before having plastic surgery to remove excess abdominal and breast skin. Insurance often covers plastic surgery in those areas because of the potential for sagging skin to cause rashes.

Do Bariatric Procedures Cause Hair Loss?

For reasons we still don’t fully understand, hair loss after bariatric surgery is common between three and six months after surgery. However, hair loss is almost always temporary. Adequate protein, vitamins, biotin and minerals will help ensure hair regrowth and avoid longer-term thinning.

Will I Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements?

You will need to take a multivitamin for life. You may require higher doses of specific vitamins or minerals, especially Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin D if you undergo a malabsorptive procedure. You will also need to have at least yearly lab checks. Most insurance companies do not cover supplements, but you can pay for them through a flex medical account.

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