Bariatric surgery is a safe procedure if performed by a skilled bariatric surgeon in an appropriate medical facility. No operation is without risks, although the potential for harm is minimized if the bariatric surgeon is highly-competent and the hospital is well-prepared to handle any crisis. In addition, the chances of having life-threatening health complications from obesity is much greater than having bariatric surgery complications. All that said, one of the issues patients confront when preparing for bariatric surgery, is facing their bariatric surgery fears.
Patients and Bariatric Surgery Fears
The best way to find out the concerns of a patient is to directly ask the patient what those fears might be surrounding bariatric surgery. One way to do this is to access postings on public internet sites.
Two of my favorite online sites for connecting with the bariatric community for support are Thinner Times Forum and BariatricPal. As for me, it wasn’t with my gastric bypass surgery but rather with my plastic surgery that I experienced near insurmountable fears and anxieties. I deeply discuss how I overcame my fears and went through with the surgery in my article, “Emotions Run Wild Before Plastic Surgery.”
Online bariatric patients were helpful to me in dealing with my fears surrounding surgery. Similarly, researchers asked bariatric patients who were attending a support group at a major hospital what Internet resource (if any) they used for support. An online site with ten forums for specific concerns of bariatric patients was mentioned more than any other resource. ObesityHelp is perhaps the longest-running online weight loss patient support site, while RealSelf is a new-comer.
Those who posted concerns about depression were given support and empathized with by peers. Suggestions were made to seek professional mental health support, and website names and addresses were given as resources.
Despite the fact that dying from bariatric surgery is highly unlikely, many people who were preparing for bariatric surgery shared concerns about that possibility. These people received community support as well as recommendations for spiritual guidance. Others offered support by discussing how unlikely it would be to die from bariatric surgery.
Another of the bariatric surgery fears was the concern about nutritional deficiencies after bariatric surgery. Support for eating healthy was given by both peers and the weight loss community, and much conversation was had about the guidelines set by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery.
Mistakes in an Imperfect World
Although bariatric surgery is relatively safe, there can be no guarantees. As noted earlier, bariatric surgery is most safe when performed by a competent and experienced bariatric surgeon in a well-suited and appropriate environment. Add to that, choosing the bariatric surgery that is right for you, based on your medical history and health conditions, is an important factor in reducing bariatric surgery complications and maximizing your success.
When this article was originally posted, there was an uproar in Los Angeles regarding the practices of 1-800-GET-THIN. An anesthesiologist was accused of gross negligence by the Medical Board of California for his role in the death of a 52-year-old patient who had a Lap-Band gastric band implant.
Two of the clinics associated with the 1-800-Get-Thin campaign discontinued Lap-Band surgeries because the manufacturer of the Lap-Band medical device refused to sell to companies who partnered with the advertising campaign.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life