weight loss surgeries: pros, cons, & costs

Going under the knife for weight loss is an option that should not be taken lightly. Surgery can be costly, dangerous and painful, but the results have the potential to change the life of the patient. Weight loss is unique for every person and is dependent on the individual’s metabolism, diet and pre-disposed medical factors.

Sometimes a medical complication, such as a thyroid issue, can cause a person to carry significantly extra weight. When exploring how to lose weight, those considering weight loss surgeries should speak with several doctors about the process and identify realistic expected outcomes for each procedure. A weight loss surgery is not a miracle cure and requires intense dedication and commitment from the patient to ensure lasting results. The following pros, cons and costs of weight loss surgery can help those considering an operation determine the course of action that is most appropriate.  

Surgery Pros:

Weight loss surgeries, particularly gastric bypass surgery, leads to substantive results for patients. Many who undergo this procedure experience dramatic weight loss and are able to keep the weight off for many years. Patients often experience an increase in energy expenditures relative to their new weight ratios which further serves to maintain a healthy weight. As is expected with a significant weight drop, other aspects of the patient’s health are likely to improve resolving coordinating, weight-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and mental health conditions.

Alleviating these conditions will likely allow the patient to decrease or cease taking other medications which may have led to side effects; remember to consult your physician before tapering off any medication. Additionally, significant weight loss will dramatically improve a patient’s outlook on life allowing him or her to feel more comfortable and engage more confident with family, friends and colleagues.

Surgery Cons:

Many people who choose gastric bypass surgery struggle with the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve significant weight loss. While the operation is a first step, the patient has to make the decision to continue abiding by the dietary changes first imposed by the procedure. Veering away from this change in eating habits can lead to complications such as “dumping syndrome” where the consumption of high sugar food may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort including diarrhea and acid reflux. All surgery has associated risks from anesthesia; the specific potential complications from a weight loss operation should be discussed with a physician.  

Surgery Costs: 

The price tag of a weight loss surgery is no small investment; but it is a deposit towards increased quality of life and longevity. The average U.S. cost of a gastric bypass surgery is $23,000 and the average lap band surgery is $14,5000. While this may be discouraging to some considering one of these, or another similarly costly procedures, note that most leading insurance companies cover part or all of these operations. However, every insurance policy is different, so it is important to call your insurance carrier and determine your coverage prior to going under the knife.

When considering weight loss surgery, the health and quality of life improvements for an obese individual can lead to a significantly improved outlook on day-to-day interactions and quality of life. While surgery can be costly, insurance coverage and medical loans can provide an avenue for many to pursue this option under the guidance of a board-certified physician. 

By Meagan Bates

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