Common Misconceptions About Weight-Loss Surgery: Part 2
In last week’s blog, Dr. John Angstadt addressed perhaps the most common misconception about weight-loss surgery — that it’s risky. It’s actually less risky than gall bladder surgery. This week, he tackles two more common misconceptions.
“Some people are told — I’m sure by well-meaning friends and family members — that surgery is the easy way out. Somehow, you’re selling yourself out if you’ve decided to have an operation.
“The reality of it is that you don’t get overweight because you have a problem with your stomach, which is what we operate on to get you to lose weight. You’re overweight because of what’s in your head — your attitudes toward food and all the habits you’ve developed.
“What we do is to take this tool and use it to allow you to lose weight. Your part is to totally change the way you approach food. You have to change all your habits, and that requires effort and commitment.
“So when your friends tell you it’s the easy way out, it really isn’t. It’s a tool to change life-long habits — and that’s hard.
“If this was only about the operation, you wouldn’t need a program. You wouldn’t need to be part of a support group. We have all that because surgery is only 25 percent of the success. The other 75 percent is what you do with it, and how you change the way you approach food.
“I think it’s important for people coming into weight-loss surgery to understand that they have to be willing to make that commitment. It’s very important. The whole structure of our program is designed to provide you with what you need to be successful.”
Another common misconception, says Dr. Angstadt, is a failure to do a total risk-benefit analysis before making a decision about weight-loss surgery.
“We’re all sort of stuck where we are,” he says. “What I think it’s hard for people to realize is how much better you’re going to feel. It’s not just about looking better. It’s about how much more energy you’re going to have. And how much better you’re going to feel about yourself and about life. And if you’re on medication, we start to peel away those medicines and that makes a difference as well.
“So if you’re at the point of making a decision, you really need to weigh all the risks and benefits. People tend not to fully weigh the benefits. We talk about risks, but the other piece of the equation is just as important. And it’s not just about making your diseases go away, but it’s also that when you’re 50 to 80 pounds lighter, you’re able to do things that you weren’t able to do before. Some of our patients are now ziplining and hang-gliding. They’re scuba diving, or they’re back on bicycles. They’re doing all kinds of activities they never thought they could do.
“As you’re contemplating bariatric surgery, you want to keep the benefits right in front of you. And as you think about making the effort to begin a new diet and make significant changes in your life, also think about the benefits and satisfaction of doing things that you never could do before.
“And as long as you look at the full picture, you will see that this is more than worth it.”
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to see one of our surgeons, call our office at (516) 616-5500 or click on “Live Chat”in the upper left corner of your screen to have a conversation now.