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Some answers to your questions...
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Is bariatric surgery effective and safe?
“With an increasing global metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS) experience, long-term studies have proven it an effective and durable treatment of severe obesity and its co-morbidities. Studies with long-term follow up, published in the decades following the 1991 NIH Consensus Statement, have consistently demonstrated that MBS produces superior weight loss outcomes compared with nonoperative treatments.
After surgery, the significant improvement of metabolic disease, as well as the decrease in overall mortality, has been reported in multiple studies further supporting the importance of this treatment modality. Concurrently, the safety of bariatric surgery has been studied and reported extensively. Perioperative mortality is very low, ranging between .03% and .2%. Thus, it is not surprising that MBS has become one of the most commonly performed operations in general surgery.”
(Excerpt from the 2022 American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO): Indications for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.)
What is BMI?
A BMI over 30 indicates that excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it has an adverse effect on health.
Bariatric surgery is considered in patients with a BMI > 40, or a BMI > 35 with two or more obesity related co-morbidities. The surgery is not done for cosmetic reasons, but rather to resolve the obesity-related conditions that have a negative effect on your health.
Will my medical aid pay for bariatric surgery?
A number of medical aids do pay for bariatric surgery. On some plans it remains an exclusion. Some medical aids contribute only a percentage of the total cost, and the patient will be responsible for the outstanding balance.
- Anglo Vaal
We recommend contacting your medical aid to enquire about their specific terms and conditions relating to bariatric surgery.
How much weight can I expect to loose?
Every patient is different and we often see outcomes for patients that are not predicted. But it is important to have a realistic sense of what to expect. Here is a table that shows the average total weight loss that we see with commonly performed procedures:
Average % weight loss
OAGB / mini gastric bypass
Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty
15-20% (after 2 years, longer data not available)
Medical therapy such as Suxenda and Oxempic
Will I gain weight after bariatric surgery?
The percentage of patients who regain weight after bariatric surgery is generally considered low. It can vary depending on a number of factors, including the patient's adherence to a healthy diet and exercise program, and their commitment to long-term lifestyle changes.
It's important for patients to understand that weight loss surgery is a tool, and not a magic solution, and long-term success depends on the patient's commitment to healthy lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, regular exercise, and behaviour modification, as well as following up with their bariatric team.
Exercise and bariatric surgery
Remember, it's important to approach exercise with a balanced and sustainable mindset. Don't push yourself too hard or set unrealistic goals, and always prioritize your health and safety above all else.
Smoking and bariatric surgery
Remember that smoking can have a significant impact on your health and well-being, both before and after bariatric surgery. If you smoke, quitting smoking is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce the risk of complications and promote optimal healing and weight loss after surgery.
Alcohol and bariatric surgery
After bariatric surgery, your stomach is smaller, and the way your body processes alcohol can change. Your bariatric team may advise you to avoid alcohol for a period of time following surgery, as it can cause discomfort or other issues.
Even after the initial recovery period, you may find that your body can no longer tolerate alcohol in the same way. This can lead to changes in your social life, habits, and behaviors. It's important to follow your bariatric team’s advice and make changes to your lifestyle as needed to support your health and well-being.
Remember, bariatric surgery is just the beginning of a journey towards a healthier, happier you. Making changes to your habits and behaviors, including your relationship with alcohol, can help you achieve your goals and maintain your results over the long term.
Hair loss and bariatric surgery
NSAIDs and bariatric surgery
It's important to know that these drugs can increase the risk of complications, such as ulcers and bleeding, in the first few months after surgery.
To avoid potential risks, it's best to avoid NSAIDs and opt for alternative pain management options. Always consult with your doctor before taking any new medication, especially after surgery.
Remember, proper post-operative care is critical for a successful bariatric surgery outcome. Stay informed and take care of yourself!