Bariatric Surgery Misconceptions

Click on a misconception below to reveal the truth

  1. Understanding The Truth about Bariatric Surgery Misconceptions

    Bariatric Surgery Misconceptions

    There are many Bariatric Surgery Misconceptions that people have heard and affect their decision on performing the surgery or not.

    Here, we are going to discuss them and find the truth.


    Do people who have metabolic and bariatric surgery regain their weight?

    Longitudinal studies prove that most people who undergo bariatric surgery maintain a successful weight-loss in the long run. Only a small percent of the patients who may regain a small amount of weight two years later or more after the surgery. A successful weight loss can be defined as the weight-loss equal to or even greater than half of the excess body weight.

    The encouraging outcome is achieved by the patient’s improved quality of life. This massive and maintained weight loss can only be achieved through the surgery. Only one percent of the population who can achieve it through diet and exercise proving bariatric surgery to be the best choice.


    Is death cause from metabolic and bariatric surgery more prevalence the death cause from Obesity? 

    People with obesity has many issues that may threaten their lives such as the diabetes type 2 and, hypertension and even more. Information from ASMBS Bariatric Centre of Excellence database reveals that the risk of death within one month after bariatric surgery averages 0.13 percent or approximately one out of 1,000 patient showing that the rate is very low compared to other operations

    Other studies revealed the same too for bariatric surgery patients throughout time compared to people affected by severe obesity who have never had the surgery. For instance, cancer death rate is reduced by 60% bariatric patients who go through the surgery. The surgery also reduces the obese related diseases.


    Surgery is a cop-out.’ Can diet and exercise help people with severe obesity lose and maintain weight?

    People with severe obesity are observed to be resistant to long-term weight-loss by diet and exercise only, but Bariatric surgeries are effective in maintaining the long-term weight-loss because these procedures release some conditions caused by diet program that is responsible for rapid and efficient weight regain.

    There are notable biological variations between someone who has lost weight by diet and someone of the same size and body structure to that of a person who has never lost weight at all.


    Many patients become alcoholics after their Does bariatric surgery increase the rate of patients becoming alcoholics?

    Only a small portion of bariatric patients claim to be alcoholic though, after some bariatric procedures, the drinking alcoholic beverages may increase blood alcohol levels higher than before the surgery. Therefore bariatric patients are advised to take some precautions such as:

    • Avoiding alcoholic beverages
    • Not that even a small amount of alcohol may increase intoxication
    • Avoid operating or driving heavy equipment
    • Seek help if they become addicted


    Does Bariatric Surgery increases the risk for suicide?

    Obese patients seeking Bariatric and metabolic surgery are likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Therefore, Thorough bariatric programs require psychological evaluations before surgery, and many have behavioral therapists are available for patient consultations after Bariatric Surgery.


    Is Obesity only an addiction, similar to alcoholism or drug dependency?

    Obesity is a complex disease caused by many disorders, and it’s not easy to deal with because when dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, you only need to abstain, but you can’t abstain from eating as you have to eat to live. Weight gain occurs because of energy imbalance that may be caused by lack of adequate exercise and physical activity.

    Therefore, treating obesity solely as addiction only benefits a few individuals whose cause of being obese is addictive and excess eating but would not benefit those affected by severe obesity.



    After reading these, we have understood the Bariatric Surgery misconceptions that disturb many people. Therefore it is better to have a clear knowledge before deciding whether to undergo through Bariatric Surgery.

  2. The chance of dying from metabolic and bariatric surgery is more than the chance of dying from obesity.


    As your body size increases, longevity decreases. Individuals with severe obesity have a number of life-threatening conditions that greatly increase their risk of dying, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and more.

    Data involving nearly 60,000 bariatric patients from ASMBS Bariatric Centres of Excellence database show that the risk of death within the 30 days following bariatric surgery averages 0.13 percent, or approximately one out of 1,000 patients. This rate is considerably less than most other operations, including gallbladder and hip replacement surgery.

    Therefore, in spite of the poor health status of bariatric patients prior to surgery, the chance of dying from the operation is exceptionally low. Large studies find that the risk of death from any cause is considerably less for bariatric patients throughout time than for individuals affected by severe obesity who have never had the surgery.

    In fact, the data show up to an 89 percent reduction in mortality, as well as highly significant decreases in mortality rates due to specific diseases. Cancer mortality, for instance, is reduced by 60 percent for bariatric patients. Death in association with diabetes is reduced by more than 90 percent and that from heart disease by more than 50 percent.

    Also, there are numerous studies that have found improvement or resolution of life-threatening obesity-related diseases following bariatric surgery. The benefits of bariatric surgery, with regard to mortality, far outweigh the risks. It is important to note that as with any serious surgical operation, the decision to have bariatric surgery should be discussed with your surgeon, family members and loved ones.

  3. Surgery is a ‘cop-out’. To lose and maintain weight, individuals affected by severe obesity just need to go on a diet and exercise program.


    Individuals affected by severe obesity are resistant to long-term weight-loss by diet and exercise. The National Institutes of Health Experts Panel recognise that ‘long-term’ weight-loss, or in other words, the ability to ‘maintain’ weight-loss, is nearly impossible for those affected by severe obesity by any means other than metabolic and bariatric surgery.

    Bariatric surgeries are effective in maintaining long-term weight-loss, in part, because these procedures offset certain conditions caused by dieting that are responsible for rapid and efficient weight regain following dieting. When a person loses weight, energy expenditure (the amount of calories the body burns) is reduced. With diet, energy expenditure at rest and with activity is reduced to a greater extent than can be explained by changes in body size or composition (amount of lean and fat tissue). At the same time, appetite regulation is altered following a diet increasing hunger and the desire to eat.

    Therefore, there are significant biological differences between someone who has lost weight by diet and someone of the same size and body composition to that of an individual who has never lost weight. For example, the body of the individual who reduces their weight from 90 to 77 kgs burns fewer calories than the body of someone weighing 77 kgs and has never been on a diet. This means that, in order to maintain weight-loss, the person who has been on a diet will have to eat fewer calories than someone who naturally weighs the same.

    In contrast to diet, weight-loss following bariatric surgery does not reduce energy expenditure or the amount of calories the body burns to levels greater than predicted by changes in body weight and composition. In fact, some studies even find that certain operations even may increase energy expenditure. In addition, some bariatric procedures, unlike diet, also causes biological changes that help reduce energy intake (food, beverage). A decrease in energy intake with surgery results, in part, from anatomical changes to the stomach or gut that restrict food intake or cause malabsorption of nutrients.

    In addition, bariatric surgery increases the production of certain gut hormones that interact with the brain to reduce hunger, decrease appetite, and enhance satiety (feelings of fullness). In these ways, bariatric and metabolic surgery, unlike dieting, produces long-term weight-loss.

  4. Many bariatric patients become alcoholics after their surgery.


    Actually, only a small percentage of bariatric patients claim to have problems with alcohol after surgery. Most (but not all) who abuse alcohol after surgery had problems with alcohol abuse at some period of time prior to surgery. Alcohol sensitivity, (particularly if alcohol is consumed during the rapid weight-loss period), is increased after bariatric surgery so that the effects of alcohol are felt with fewer drinks than before surgery.

    Studies also find with certain bariatric procedures (such as the gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy) that drinking an alcoholic beverage increases blood alcohol to levels that are considerably higher than before surgery or in comparison to the alcohol levels of individuals who have not had a bariatric procedure. For all of these reasons, bariatric patients are advised to take certain precautions regarding alcohol:

    • Avoid alcoholic beverages during the rapid weight-loss period
    • Be aware that even small amounts of alcohol can cause intoxication
    • Avoid driving or operating heavy equipment after drinking any alcohol
    • Seek help if drinking becomes a problem

    If you feel the consumption of alcohol may be an issue for you after surgery, please contact your primary care physician or bariatric surgeon and discuss this further. They will be able to help you identify resources available to address any alcohol-related issues.

  5. Surgery increases the risk for suicide.


    Individuals affected by severe obesity who are seeking bariatric and metabolic surgery are more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety and to have lower self-esteem and overall quality of life than someone who is normal weight. Bariatric surgery results in highly significant improvement in psychosocial well-being for the majority of patients. However, there remain a few patients with undiagnosed preexisting psychological disorders and still others with overwhelming life stressors who commit suicide after bariatric surgery.

    Two large studies have found a small but significant increase in suicide occurrence following bariatric surgery. For this reason, comprehensive bariatric programs require psychological evaluations prior to surgery and many have behavioural therapists available for patient consultations after surgery.

  6. Obesity is only an addiction, similar to alcoholism or drug dependency.


    Although there is a very small percentage of individuals affected by obesity who have eating disorders, such as binge eating disorder syndrome, that may result in the intake of excess food (calories), for the vast majority of individuals affected by obesity, obesity is a complex disease caused by many factors. When treating addiction, such as alcohol and drugs, one of the first steps is abstaining from the drugs or alcohol. This approach does not work with obesity as we need to eat to live. Additionally, there may be other issues affecting an individual’s weight, such as psychological issues.

    Weight gain generally occurs when there is an energy imbalance or, in other words, the amount of food (energy) consumed is greater than the number of calories burned (energy expended) by the body in the performance of biological functions, daily activities and exercise. Energy imbalance may be caused by overeating or by not getting enough physical activity and exercise. There are other conditions, however, that affect energy balance and/or fat metabolism that do not involve excessive eating or sedentary behaviour including:

    • Chronic sleep loss
    • Consumption of foods that, independent of caloric content, cause metabolic/hormonal changes that may increase body fat (sugar, high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, processed meats and processed grains)
    • Low intake of fat-fighting foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, quality protein)
    • Stress and psychological distress
    • Many types of medications
    • Pollutants

    Obesity also ‘begets’ obesity, which is one of the reasons why the disease is considered ”progressive.” Weight gain causes a number of hormonal, metabolic and molecular changes in the body that increase the risk for even greater fat accumulation and obesity. Such obesity-associated changes reduce fat utilisation, increase the conversion of sugar to fat, and enhance the body’s capacity to store fat by increasing fat cells size and numbers and by reducing fat breakdown. Such defects in fat metabolism mean that more of the calories consumed are stored as fat.

    To make matters worse, obesity affects certain regulators of appetite and hunger in a manner that can cause an increase in the amount of food eaten at any given meal and the desire to eat more often. There are many causes for obesity and that the disease of obesity is far more than just an ‘addiction’ toward food.

    The treatment of obesity solely as an addiction may be beneficial for a very small percentage of individuals whose only underlying cause for obesity is excessive and addictive eating, but would be unlikely to benefit the multitudes, particularly those individuals affected by severe obesity.