Choosing to undergo bariatric surgery is a serious decision which patients take months to make. Part of the decision-making process includes learning about how those who have gone before you feel after surgery. Many patients are motivated purely by weight loss when they choose bariatric surgery. While weight loss is a result, those who undergo gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or other bariatric procedures also experience other post-surgical benefits. On the other had, bariatric surgery does carry some risk and some patients experience negative results.
We want you to make an educated decision about having bariatric surgery, so below we provide a broad overview about satisfaction after bariatric surgery, followed by a more in depth look at the factors which influence a patient's post-surgical satisfaction level.
How Satisfied Are Patients After Bariatric Surgery?
Many factors contribute to a patient's satisfaction after bariatric surgery, making it difficult to provide one number or statistic. Satisfaction highly depends on the specific circumstances of each patient. In an August 2019 study, researchers found up to 30 percent of surveyed bariatric patients were dissatisfied five years after undergoing bariatric surgery, which means more than 70 percent of patients were satisfied. Yet, this particular study only surveyed those who underwent duodenal switch and gastric sleeve procedures without any mention of satisfaction after gastric bypass or gastric banding surgery. Another recent study compared satisfaction and quality of life one year after gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries. Researchers didn't find a significant difference between two procedures and called for larger studies. They did, however, find both groups experienced significant improvement in quality of life.
Factors That Influence Satisfaction Levels After Surgery
Satisfaction after bariatric surgery depends on a variety of factors, which are not mutually exclusive. For example, consider two hypothetical patients who have had the same exact weight loss results after bariatric surgery. You would expect both to have the same level of satisfaction, but if one of the patients had a surgical complication, he or she will likely be less satisfied. We discuss some of the most popular factors that influence satisfaction after bariatric surgery below:
Amount of Weight Loss
Although bariatric surgery can lead to many positive outcomes, weight loss is the primary motivation and benefit for those who undergo a procedure. It shouldn't be surprising that the amount of weight a person loses after surgery is one of the largest factors which influences post-surgical satisfaction. A recent Swedish study of women who had bariatric surgery reported that those who were satisfied one year after surgery lost almost 95 percent of their excess weight on average. Those women who reported dissatisfaction lost an average of almost 60 percent of their excess weight.
Type of Surgery
The type of weight loss surgery one undergoes can also contribute to satisfaction after surgery to the extent that different procedures produce different results, especially in the short term. According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, those who undergo gastric bypass lose between 60 to 80 percent of their excess weight. Lap band patients can successfully lose between 40 and 50 percent of their body weight, with other bariatric procedures providing results somewhere in between. These are, of course, not representative of every single person's results, but an average among most. Ultimately, successful long-term weight loss occurs when patients commit to a healthy diet and regular exercise after surgery.
Level of Family Support
Like the type of weight loss surgery, the level of family support a patient receives can also influence their weight loss success, thereby impacting their satisfaction after surgery. Patients who live with others might struggle if those around them don't support a healthy lifestyle. In some cases, friends and family members can sabotage bariatric patients. They might say things like "just one little bite" or "just one drink," encouraging a patient to make poor choices with their diet, or detract them from their daily exercise routine. One bite can turn into much more and slow or halt weight loss. In the worst cases, some bariatric patients struggle and gain weight back they have lost as a result of surgery. Those who have supportive friends and family who encourage healthy behaviors and don't enable unhealthy behaviors have better weight loss results.
Extensive weight loss comes with many emotional changes; some are positive and some are negative. In the Swedish study referenced above, women who were satisfied one year after weight loss surgery reported an increase in self-esteem which contributed to their satisfaction. Increased self-esteem as well as feeling physically better leads to an overall increased quality of life, which positively impacts feelings of satisfaction after weight loss surgery. Unfortunately, some negative aspects also come to light for some patients. Some have a hard time seeing their new body as it loses weight; they still see their old body in the mirror, so they struggle with esteem. Others struggle with increased sexual attention from others and aren't quite sure how to deal with the attention. Weight loss can also lead to a breakdown in friendships and family relationships when others are jealous of a patient's weight loss. Participating in therapy or regularly attending special support groups for those who have undergone weight loss surgery, can help patients deal with these negative emotions so it doesn't negatively impact satisfaction.
Surgical complications from bariatric procedures can happen, but are rare. Those who experience complications can struggle with feeling satisfied about their choice to have surgery. Yet, it's important to remember that many complications can be completely avoided by strictly following your doctor's advice before and after surgery. For example, not properly preparing for surgery, adding solid foods too quickly to your diet, or overeating, can all cause surgical complications which might land a patient back in the hospital after surgery.
Contact My New Beginning Today
If you've been considering weight loss surgery and you are ready to make the long-term commitment to a healthier lifestyle which accompanies bariatric procedures, your next step is to contact the qualified medical professionals at My New Beginning to learn about the best procedure for your individual situation. A consultation with one of our bariatric specialists will give you the opportunity to learn about your options as well as discuss any questions or concerns you might have about bariatric surgery, recovery, and your life after surgery.