There are plenty of myths and misconceptions around weight-loss surgery that can make the decision to have it shrouded in mystery and stigma.

Here are a few common misconceptions about weight-loss surgery and the truth about going under the knife to lose weight.

I’m not eligible for weight-loss surgery

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or above and you have a major medical condition, such as diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea or uncontrolled hypertension, you may be eligible and should discuss weight-loss surgery with your physician. If you have a BMI of 40 or above, then no other medical condition is necessary to qualify.

Most major insurance companies will cover common weight-loss surgeries such as gastric bypass, but it’s best to speak to your insurance provider to determine their approval process. Even though a majority of weight-loss surgery patients have tried multiple other measures to lose weight over time and have failed, many insurance companies still require patients to attempt a supervised diet prior to approving the procedure.

Weight-loss surgery is too risky for me

Weight-loss surgery is not as high risk as some assume, especially now that the transition has been made from open surgery to minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery in a majority of cases. Overall, the risks are fewer and the outcomes are better.

I’m not eligible for weight-loss surgery

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or above and you have a major medical condition, such as diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea or uncontrolled hypertension, you may be eligible and should discuss weight-loss surgery with your physician. If you have a BMI of 40 or above, then no other medical condition is necessary to qualify.

Most major insurance companies will cover common weight-loss surgeries such as gastric bypass, but it’s best to speak to your insurance provider to determine their approval process. Even though a majority of weight-loss surgery patients have tried multiple other measures to lose weight over time and have failed, many insurance companies still require patients to attempt a supervised diet prior to approving the procedure.

Weight-loss surgery is too risky for me

Weight-loss surgery is not as high risk as some assume, especially now that the transition has been made from open surgery to minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery in a majority of cases. Overall, the risks are fewer and the outcomes are better.

Weight-loss surgery is not effective over the long term

Patients who have weight-loss surgery typically lose more weight than they’ve lost with previous nonsurgical approaches. Most patients will lose approximately two-thirds to three-fourths of excess pounds by year two. For a majority of patients, this weight loss will improve or resolve those medical conditions related to weight, including diabetes, sleep apnea, joint pain and more. Plus, there’s more evidence today that shedding excess weight effectively lowers the risk for cancer and prolongs life expectancy as well.

Surgery is an easy way out of dealing with obesity

Having an operation is by no means an easy way out. There is a perception that anyone unable to lose weight by traditional means (diet and exercise) just isn’t trying hard enough. But several studies have proven that’s false. The vast majority of obese people are heavy not from lack of trying, but because they need tools to overcome the metabolic changes that occur in the body over time, which make it more difficult to shed the pounds. To determine which type of weight loss procedure is best and safest, each patient should have an individual consultation with a certified bariatric physician to evaluate his or her individual medical problems and weight-loss goals.

Patients who have weight-loss surgery typically lose more weight than they’ve lost with previous nonsurgical approaches. Most patients will lose approximately two-thirds to three-fourths of excess pounds by year two. For a majority of patients, this weight loss will improve or resolve those medical conditions related to weight, including diabetes, sleep apnea, joint pain and more. Plus, there’s more evidence today that shedding excess weight effectively lowers the risk for cancer and prolongs life expectancy as well.

Surgery is an easy way out of dealing with obesity

Having an operation is by no means an easy way out. There is a perception that anyone unable to lose weight by traditional means (diet and exercise) just isn’t trying hard enough. But several studies have proven that’s false. The vast majority of obese people are heavy not from lack of trying, but because they need tools to overcome the metabolic changes that occur in the body over time, which make it more difficult to shed the pounds. To determine which type of weight loss procedure is best and safest, each patient should have an individual consultation with a certified bariatric physician to evaluate his or her individual medical problems and weight-loss goals.

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