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Is gastric bypass surgery worth it?

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As a nurse, I’ve seen and taken care of a few (insert sarcastic gesture) patients who have undergone one of the many different types of gastric bypass surgery. I’m not here to discuss the many different options when it comes to choosing which ‘type’ of bypass surgery is better or worse. I’m here to ask if having surgery to lose weight is really worth it?

Gastric bypass surgery (Bariatric Surgery) has been around for quite some time now (sorry don’t know how long). It’s obviously an alternative to the traditional means of weight loss. I’ve always viewed it as a ‘last ditch effort’ for all those individuals who are wanting to lose weight because of impending and debilitating health conditions that are robbing them of a safe and functional life. It’s for those morbidly obese individuals, at least that’s what I used to think.

Recently I’ve seen just the obese population electing to undergo these surgeries?? Yes, just the over weight population. Those individuals that just want to lose weight – who aren’t happy with their current weight. No, I don’t have exact numbers, or statistics. All I can say is they aren’t what I consider in the ‘last ditch effort’ category.

I’m still trying to understand and comprehend why someone would want or elect to have this surgery? I wholeheartedly understand the concept of wanting to eliminate the obesity and all the difficulties that go along with it, but to have surgery??

Surgery is a big step. A big and risky step. Surgery all by itself is risky. You have the anesthesia risks. You have the complications of infection as well as the recovery that is involved. I won’t even mention the possible side effects and complications of the surgical changes done to your body!

The recovery process is – to put it bluntly – brutal. You have to follow a strict diet plan that is done in increments. You will have to recover from the ‘surgical’ portion of this puzzle, then have to battle all the stipulations of your strict new lifestyle.

You will have a new type of diet regimen. You can or cannot have certain foods, as well as how much you eat in one sitting. You will have to start an exercise regimen. Your new lifestyle will be tough, grueling and imminent. If you don’t follow any and all the expected stipulations you have a risk of reversing or damaging the surgical procedure. Worse yet, causing damage to an array of anatomical and physiological structures! Any deviation from the rules can and will cause physical damage that could require additional surgery!

Surgery versus traditional means always puzzles me. So here is how I broke it down between traditional and surgical weight loss:

Traditional

  • Must follow a healthier lifestyle
  • Some type of exercise regimen
  • Better food choices
  • In it for the long haul
  • Will see small incremental changes over a long period of time, but will get permanent changes
  • If you slip up with your regimen, you simply start over.

Surgical

  • Must follow a healthier lifestyle
  • Some type of exercise regimen
  • Better food choices
  • Must only eat certain food
  • Must only eat a certain amount of food at once
  • In it for the long haul
  • Will see immediate changes – will have to make changes over a long period of time, but will get permanent changes
  • Surgical procedural risks
  • If you ‘slip’ up with your regimen you can cause physical harm.

Once again, please take all this with a grain of salt. There are definitely individuals that need this surgery in order to better their health and save themselves from shortening their life. Obesity can be deadly, short term and long term.

Is the risk really worth it?

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11 Responses to Is gastric bypass surgery worth it?

  1. GARY MICNERSKI

    I got one 30 yrs ago, a life changing positive experience! But I’ve heard horror stories from people who’s body couldn’t tolerate it or didn’t realize your eating habits must change as your body changes.
    your going to get thin, you must also eat no more than a thin person does and eat healthy ! gary (-_-)

  2. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Gary I greatly appreciate your feedback and thoughts! Thank you so much. You hit the nail on the head.

  3. Judy

    Yes, the surgery should be a last resort. It was a last resort for me. I studied about it for two years,and when I decided it took another 6 months of doctor visits, seeing a dietition, a physic evaluation, etc. But I did it and I have never regretted it. It definately is life changing but at least I have a life to change. The only thing I tell people is they really have to be committed to these changes, or there will be problems. It is not a quick fix, by any stretch of the imagination.

  4. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Judy Thanks for sharing your story. Congrats on your success!

  5. Angie

    Absolutely worth it…I had mine 9 yrs ago…I was approaching 300lb and now sit at a comfortable 185…you may ask why not smaller…well your body does get to a comfortable weight and now it is as hard for me to loose 5 lbs as it was before the surgery..you must research it and make the decision that is right for you…It also took me 2 yr to make my decision after much research and many failed DIETS. I am an ICU nurse and love that I can move around with much ease…I even had a baby 18 months after my surgery, she is now 7 yrs old and we waited for her for 13 yrs…probably secondary to my weight issues. I am happy at this weight it I weren’t able to loose another pound. I never wake up in the mornings anymore to look in the mirror and cry….those days are gone…Life is good…remember tho, they didn’t do surgery on your head, so if you have major issues with over eating get those in check first…those people that I have taken care of as a nurse that have problems with their GB most of them have some underlying major psych issue…just my observation…okay good luck to whom ever makes the decision…mine was well worth it.

  6. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Angie You hit the nail on the head about being psychologically strong and prepared for this type of surgery. Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. norris anthay brown

    What about the lap band is that good also, I don’t like doing the other surgery but I have to do it so I can lose the weight I’m not getting any younger and my dr just push my dose up for my blood pressure pill and I hated that so much so now I have to do something I seen a rd,ld/n,ode @ the north broward hospital district and she me different booklets to read and what to eat and not now I’m @474 pounds and I’m 6″4

  8. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ norris best of luck with your journey

  9. Los Angeles weight loss surgery

    Thanks for giving me this advise.I was also wondering about that why people going for this surgery.
    weight loss surgery cause lot of complications like you have to control your diet.After having your surgery its mandatory that you have to control your eating like pizza etc.Otherwise you will regain your weight after some time..so the surgery will not remain effective.But its tough for those who usually like eating and fast food.I saw some patients that can’t stop eating and the surgery for those will not remain effective.and some of the patients go for suicide those get irritated by this.

  10. i have wanted the surgery for almost 2 years now at 195 opounds at 5 foot 1 and diabeta and have a date for july 18th well I am not having it and plan to got to weight watches now and do it on my own stayed above a 35 bmi for the surgery a mistake, now I know, that was stupid at 180 poundes no diabites at 170 I wil be well screw this surgery.

  11. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @annnoymous Best of luck to you! Thanks for sharing.

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