weight loss surgery myths birmingham

By Dr. Jay Long

If you’re reading this, I’m sure it’s not the first weight loss surgery article you’ve read.  If you’re like most of my patients, you’ve been out there scouring the internet, talking to your friends, and reading everything you can put your hands on about weight loss surgery.  

As a surgeon, I have the benefit of talking to patients all day long about their fears, their desired outcomes, but most importantly, the MISinformation they sometimes come across.  And that’s ok – one of my favorite parts of the job is getting to educate my patients on what their weight loss surgery experience is going to look like.

So, here are some examples of MISinformation I hear all the time, and my thoughts on the correct answers:

Weight loss surgeries have long recovery times and require big scars on my abdomen

I am pleased to say this is not the case at MY practice!  All of our weight loss surgeries are performed laparoscopically, which means scarring is minimal.  That also means that patients can go home the same day of surgery or the following day, and recover much more quickly in the comfort of their own homes.  

My weight loss surgery is going to easily fix all my life problems

I’m sorry my friend, but this just isn’t the case.  People come in all the time and assume that surgery is the end-all, be-all.  They don’t understand that there is still a lot of work that they have to put into the process.  First of all, they have to lower their calorie intake and EXERCISE. Unfortunately, I get a lot of patients that say “I just can’t exercise.”  And I get it – morbidly obese patients have reduced mobility and pain in their joints, so traditional exercise isn’t in the cards for them. But you can lay on the floor and swing your arms and legs up and down.  You can do simple things that will get you moving again.

Weight loss surgery certainly isn’t a miracle pill.  Once you’ve begun healing from the surgery, you absolutely have to entertain exercising as a major part of your long-term weight loss goals.  I try to redirect my patients and tell them – “think differently – change your mindset.” Work within your limitations – what CAN I do – not what CAN’T I do.  “My knees are bad” – well, can you swim at your local YMCA? Swimming and water activities like water aerobics are low impact and can help you get fit without making your joint issues worse.  “I have a bad back.” Then you can work out your arms. Lay on the floor and do leg lifts. There are endless things you can do as long as you WANT to do it.

I’ve heard some patients gain their weight back after a year

In fact, some percentage of patients do gain some portion of their weight back.  However, this is usually a result of not following the carefully crafted plan we have for you post-surgery.  We try to follow-up with patients after several months, but sometimes they don’t always follow up. The good news is, where we can reconnect with patients that have gained back some weight, we can re-evaluate them, encourage them, remind them of their cooking and eating and exercise protocols, and perhaps most importantly – get them involved in local support groups.

What will your appetite will be like?   That’s what all patients want to know. I tell my patients that you will definitely experience appetite suppression.  Some people are not hungry at all, but some patients are.  So I educate folks that it’s suppressed – not absent.

So in closing, hopefully my open, honest, frank advice gives you some clarity on some of the weight loss procedures you’ve been researching.  I always want my patients and friends to have ALL the information at their fingertips, so they can make the right decisions for themselves and for their families.    

Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery is a caring group of professionals who specialize in all types of bariatric surgery.  Our surgeon Dr. Jay Long has highly specialized training in bariatric surgery, having completed a fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he focused on taking care of patients that are morbidly obese.  And we are so proud of our pricing that we publish the costs right on the front page of our website!  Insurance won’t pay?  We have a variety of financing options we can offer you so that you are able to get the healthy body you’ve wanted for years.  Visit us today at http://www.bmisurgery.com/ or give us a call to set up a consultation at 205-833-6907.