Fears and Concerns Before Bariatric Surgery
If you are thinking about bariatric surgery and have doubts about whether it is right for you, you’re not alone. We’ve yet to meet a patient that hasn’t had some reservation or concern. After all, you are embarking on what seems to be an “unknown” journey.
No doubt, weight loss surgery is powerful. It’s a life-changing experience, and for that reason, it’s not something to rush into. And that goes for your surgical team as well. We’ve collectively performed thousands of procedures but we still evaluate each patient carefully, ensuring bariatric surgery is suitable on a case-by-case basis. Seminars, testing, consultations and discussions with various members of our team move all of us closer toward understanding how this life-changing experience will work for you.
You will begin by making your decisions – and there will be several, such as “What program is right for me?” or “What procedure do I choose?” You are encouraged to weigh each step carefully, but should try separating your fear of the unknown from any fears that can be addressed or discussed with your doctor.
Addressing Your Fears and Concerns
To begin, you have to level with yourself and truthfully ask the question – What are you afraid of? Most of us are afraid of the surgery itself. Many are also afraid of their responsibilities and obligations that are key to long-term success. Yet others worry about their relationships and interactions after surgery – not everyone (Happy Hour buddies, naysayers, that negative family member) will be thrilled with your decision, to be sure. The answer to these worries? Do your research and get the information you need to make the right decision for you alone.
First, when you find a surgeon and/or program that fits your needs – ours or otherwise – you should discuss the benefits and risks of weight loss surgery, as a start. As importantly, you’ll want to get an idea of a program’s experience by discussing the number of surgeries they’ve performed and their complication rates. Attend one of their support groups and talk to some of their patients. They will be honest with you and have likely felt all the emotions that you are feeling now. In our case, several of our team members are also bariatric surgery patients themselves – use them as a resource as well.
It’s normal to fear surgery, anesthesia, and hospitals. But you’ll be glad to know that in the last 10 years, there have been significant advances in bariatric surgery that have lowered the risk of operative mortality and complications, and have improved outcomes overall. It is always important to remember that weight loss surgery is major surgery and there is always some risk involved, but the best way to embark on this decision is to be as well-informed as possible.
As we mentioned above, bariatric surgery will change your life. Are you afraid of that? It would be absolutely normal if you were. This is a big deal, with many changes along the way. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.