If you have ever explored surgical methods of weight loss, the term ‘bariatric surgery’ may be familiar. It is a procedure that drastically alters the digestive system of a person to make weight loss in obese people possible.
Every year, over 250,000 such surgeries are conducted in the United States. With obesity rates climbing in the country, it isn’t surprising that these procedures have gotten so popular.
Family members of those about to undergo bariatric surgery often view it as a risky process. However, while it is natural for those close to us to be concerned, facts and not misconceptions should prevail. In today’s article, we will explore how to navigate bariatric surgery as a family, and deal with the many questions that you will face from them.
Having a Discussion About Bariatric Surgery With Your Family
Family members are often familiar with the context that causes people to consider bariatric surgery. It is a last resort to dealing with obesity when all other approaches have failed. Thus, the individual’s struggle with weight is often a long-term journey that the entire family would have witnessed.
Explaining bariatric surgery with family in such a context is relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, it can still be hard to evaluate exactly how they will respond to what is inevitably a complex, and personal choice.
Prior to the discussion, try to collect as much information concerning bariatric surgical procedures as you can. The factual data will help in calming most worries or concerns your family members might have. The fewer misconceptions around the subject, the less they have to worry.
According to The Bariatric & Metabolic Center of Colorado (BMCC), two of the most common misconceptions about Bariatric surgery are that it is dangerous, and an ‘easy way’ to lose weight. This is far from the truth.
A multicentric study showed that the mortality rate for bariatric surgery was 0.16%. In terms of complications such as post-operative bleeding, nutritional deficiencies, and leaks, the likelihood was well below 1%. Thus, any health risks are more likely to come from continuing with bad eating habits rather than from surgery-related factors.
Addressing Financial Concerns and Questions
Even if you have quelled their fears with reliable information, your family is still going to have questions. More specifically, they might be curious about how expensive the procedure will be.
Be patient, and respect the fact that you might hear not-so-supportive opinions. Depending on your place in the family, and your family’s financial situation, you might see some apprehension about the costs involved.
Approach such concerns with understanding, but also explain why you urgently need it. Talk about how the treatment can bring about considerable weight reduction, and also enhance or perhaps permanently solve obesity-related health and wellness problems.
This can lead to decreased clinical expenditures in time, such as reduced expenses for medicines, hospital stays, and also therapies for problems like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or rest apnea.
Stress the point that bariatric surgical treatment can be a cost-efficient option in the long term. Go over the costs related to various weight reduction programs, and diet plan strategies that you might have tried in the past.
Explain how they have failed to provide results even with lots of effort. You can also create an estimate of these costs, and if the numbers are likely to make an impact, highlight them for your family.
Resolving Procedure and Safety Concerns
Your family will definitely have concerns regarding safety, pain, and the procedure itself. They may wonder whether it is worth the overall risk. Reassure them that bariatric surgery is a well-established procedure that is performed by experienced surgeons.
Educate them about how bariatric surgery is performed laparoscopically in most cases, which involves smaller incisions, shorter recovery time, and reduced risk compared to open surgery. You can also offer to provide educational materials or invite them to attend a medical consultation to address their questions.
Concerns about complications are also likely from their side. Acknowledge that while all surgeries carry some risks, bariatric surgery is generally safe and complications are relatively rare. You can share statistics on the low occurrence of major complications, and also express your determination to follow post-operative guidelines to a T.
Navigating bariatric surgery with your family is a journey that requires open communication, understanding, and support. If you are thinking about bariatric surgical treatment, make the effort to educate your family about the treatment, its advantages, as well as the potential impact on your overall well-being.
It might take some time for your family to completely understand, and accept your choice. That’s fine. Give them the freedom to process the information, and be open to listening when they voice their concerns.