6 Surprising Facts About Bariatric Surgery

If you’ve ever wondered if weight-loss surgery is the right option for you or a family member, you’re in the right place. Bariatric surgery helps many people achieve long-term weight loss and reduce health problems. But what’s it like to go through it?

We checked in with ProMedica Physicians to learn more — and picked up some surprising facts.

1. Many people could benefit from bariatric surgery.

Weight-loss surgery is often an option for folks with a BMI (body mass index) of 35 or higher, which includes a large proportion of Americans. You don’t need to have an extreme case of obesity to benefit from bariatric surgery, says Matthew Fourman, MD, a bariatric surgeon with ProMedica Physicians.

“A huge number of people don’t realize they could benefit from this lifesaving, life-changing surgery. If you look nationwide, less than one percent of the patients that could have it actually get it. There are many more people who could be getting help sooner,” he says.

2. The risks are lower than you might think.

One misconception that keeps some people from looking into bariatric surgery is the idea that it’s dangerous. But it’s not as risky as you may think.

When you look at the data, bariatric surgery carries about an equal risk as having a gallbladder taken out or having a hip replacement. By and large, the surgeries are actually considered very safe and low risk when done by experienced surgeons, like those at ProMedica.

3. It’s a life-long change that goes beyond weight loss.

Bariatric surgery isn’t a “quick fix,” since you must be ready to commit to healthy eating and exercising afterward. But the benefits it brings may greatly improve many weight-related conditions that impact your well-being, everyday quality of life and long-term health.

“After the surgery, it is so great to see folks not just achieve their weight loss goals, but they can also say, ‘I’m no longer on any medicine for my diabetes, I’m off my blood pressure medicines, my heart is healthy, and I got rid of my sleep apnea.’ It truly changes their lives,” Dr. Fourman says.

4. You’ll have support before, during and after your surgery.

There are several different types of bariatric surgery, including minimally invasive options. Your doctor will talk to you about the best choice for you. The first year after your surgery and beyond, they will keep a close eye on your progress to help you stay on track with your weight loss.

At ProMedica, dietitians are also on hand to help you get used to new eating plans, and monthly support groups connect you to other people on similar weight-loss journeys. Together, this support helps the changes you’re making last for a lifetime.

5. Most insurance plans cover the costs.

Many people want to know: Is it expensive? Luckily, bariatric surgery is now covered by most insurance plans, which means you only pay for costs related to your deductible and copays. Your doctor will walk you through the steps to get your surgery approved by your insurer.

6. Help might be closer than you realize.

Given the benefits that bariatric surgery can offer, ProMedica is now working to expand its northwest Ohio program in Michigan, including in Adrian and Monroe, to help reach and serve more people close to home with the right care and expertise.

“The reality is obesity isn’t just about calories. Obesity is a metabolic disease, a physiologic disease and a genetic disease and needs to be addressed as such,” he says. “We understand and we’re here to help you.”

Learn More about Bariatric Surgery