My Take on Bariatric Surgery

Honestly, it was not easy to decide on seeking help to lose weight as I had done it once. Back in 2015, I successfully lost 25kg within a span of 6 months but taking age into consideration where I was 21 then, my metabolism rate should be higher. Furthermore, I was fresh out of university graduation and have yet to find a job. Thus with the different variables of my current situation, I had decided to join the Weight Management Clinic (WMC) at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. 

As I am currently in a desk-bound job, it is hard to stay active during the day. On days where the work load tends to be mentally stressful, it is undeniable that food becomes my coping strategy and I will stay away from doing anything physically exhausting as well. To sum up, I began realising that it was hard for me to stand up when seated on the floor and that triggered me to get started on my fitness journey. 

To kick off, I began watching 600-lbs life on Viu because I needed to get inspired thinking that it was similar to the Biggest Loser show. It dawned upon me halfway through the episode that it documents individuals that desperately requires the surgery to stay fit or do normal daily activities without issue, Seeing that, I honestly was unsure whether I fit the category because some of the individuals are unable to shower and requires their partner to do a sponge bath, cannot walk and rely heavily on wheelchair or even getting up from the bed. 

Hence when I was advised by the doctor at the consultation in the Polyclinic, my bmi of 46 is quite concerning as well. Even if my weight was not 600 lbs, I was considered morbidly obese and needed attention. She had also advised that even if I was not undergoing the gastric bypass surgery, the WMC process will aid in transforming me with guidance from health experts to adopt a healthier lifestyle.   

So how does surgery help me in adopting a healthier lifestyle?

The doctor advised me not to see the surgery as a miracle pill as it requires lots of effort to maintain or stay on track because the side effects can be quite drastic and there are failed outcomes of the surgery. Hearing that, I knew that I will need to do my research on the various types of surgery and the reviews of side effects that I should expect before considering the surgery, in the case where I am unable to lose weight via diets and exercise. 

With limited reviews or information on how the WMC runs, I am concerned about getting pre- and post-op guidance from the doctor. For many people who proceed with weight loss surgery, life after treatment can be full of surprises — here are a few things highlighted online that your doctor may forget to mention.

1. Post-Surgery Depression

Despite a constant link between obesity and depression, for most of the patients who undergo bariatric surgery, they do experience an overall improvement in their well-being after surgery. On the other hand, depression can worsen for some based on a research by Yale University which reported that 13 percent of patients experienced an increase in eating disorder behavior, self-esteem, and social functioning – six to 12 months after gastric bypass surgery.

2. Excess skin removed by costly corrective surgery

In the case where the post-surgery weight loss is advanced and not constant to a point where your body and skin are unable to adjust, many are left with such an excess skin that it requires cosmetic surgery to fix. And unless it’s deemed medically necessary (such as a surplus of droopy skin causing a rash or infection), your insurance company will not be footing the bill. 

3. Constant trip to the toilet 

About 85 percent of patients who undergo Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RNYGB) surgery will experience extreme bouts of diarrhea known as dumping syndrome at some point post-surgery. This is the result of poor food choices that includes refined sugars, fried foods, and some fats or dairy. Prolonged poor choices will lead to mild-to-severe symptoms that also include sweating, flushing, lightheadedness, nausea, cramping. Additionally, loose stools, constipation, and embarrassing farts are other common bowel-related complaints after surgery.

4. Gym is your lifestyle change

Doctors will counsel patients on a proper post-surgery diet to help promote weight-loss success after surgery and recommends that once a patient is cleared by his or her doctor to introduce physical activity into a daily routine, gradually working up to 60 minutes of exercise six days per week is ideal for promoting post-surgery weight loss success. In other words, this surgery isn’t a quick fix.

5. Farewell Soda, Hello Water

Carbonated drinks are banned because they induce air into your belly, creating gas that can put pressure on your stomach, causing it to expand unnecessarily. Drink more water, as dehydration is the most common reason for a patient to be back to hospital. 

6. The risks of surgery are low compared with doing nothing at all.

Though weight-loss surgery has a reputation for being risky, the procedures have improved over the years and are a lot safer now. Taking into account that most post surgery patients report that the chances of having a major complication declined to  about 4.3 percent, the risks of staying obese — heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even death – are far more dangerous.

7. Most patients highly recommended it

Though success is a long-term process to lose weight and transform to a healthier version of themselves, most people choose to commit to the same program and surgery again, if they were to go back in time. The idea of feeling better and more active in general, along with lesser medications can greatly improve the quality of life for the patients and with that, I was hooked on the idea of undergoing the same surgery. 

But as mentioned on several forums and interaction with one of the patients, I do understand not everyone going through the WMC will need the weight loss surgery. Hence, I will be researching online to check on which type of surgery will be best suited for me and understand in-depth before I go to the hospital.

There are 6 types of weight loss surgery (also called “bariatric surgery”) available. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, and I will be blogging about my opinion on each procedure.

Here is a very brief description of how each procedure will help you lose weight:

Introducing Bariatric Surgery - G & L Surgical
  1. Gastric Sleeve – you will feel less hungry generally & full sooner while eating
  2. Gastric Bypass – you will feel full sooner while eating & absorb fewer minerals
  3. Duodenal Switch – you feel less hungry generally & full sooner while eating, absorb fewer calories and minerals
  4. LAP-BAND® – you will feel full sooner while eating
  5. Gastric Balloon – you will temporarily feel full sooner while eating (balloon removed after 6 months)
  6. AspireAssist – drain a portion of stomach contents after eating and absorb fewer calories

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