I watched a news report this evening on the CBC about the huge leap in bariatric surgeries over the past few years and was rather alarmed at the attitudes of the doctors they spoke to. Now I have documented my experiences with this invasive procedure here, here, here and here. If you haven't read it and you are considering this operation or just want to know what it's really all about, you need to do so now.
The good folks over at the CBC added the story to their website which gave me an opportunity to look it over again and I have to say I'm disappointed in the medical establishments attitude towards this particular "fix". The prevailing attitude seems to be that since we have the technology to perform this surgery, then why not? People are fat and getting fatter and surgery has become the go to fix for just about everything that is wrong with people so why not this? I do understand that some people are in seriously bad condition due to their weight and surgery may be necessary to save their lives, but you can be sure there are others who are viewing it as an easy fix to their weight problems, much like liposuction. The medical community is supposed to have qualifiers before they okay this procedure and I hope they are followed diligently but somehow I doubt this is happening.
Bariatric surgery should be a last resort, one made after all other avenues have been exhausted. There are simply too many risks and complications and often, the underlying problems are not resolved so the patient will continue their eating patterns despite the fact that this will be met with severe consequences by the body itself. Intense vomiting, which among other complications, wears the enamel off your teeth, excessive scarring, which causes blockages in your abdomen and could result in life threatening situations (like I suffered), and painful gallstones requiring the removal of your gall bladder are some of the very real ramifications many will face. Some don't make it beyond a month or so before being readmitted to hospital with a variety of other complications and the need to perform a reversal. Some die although that number is very low.
Surgery should always be a last resort for anything. Once you open up the body you risk infection and the beginnings of other problems you probably never would have suffered from had you not gone under the knife. The fact that this surgery continues to increase in popularity as an obesity fix is frightening. Back in 1990 when I had mine done, I knew of nobody else who had experienced it. I was given no support or therapy to help me adjust to the new reality I was about to be exposed to and certainly no information or insight into what to expect. They just gutted me like a fish, stapled off most of my stomach and sent me on my way. I know the technology is supposed to be better now but is the support there? Are they treating the underlying issues? Twenty four years after my surgery and reversal, my issues remain and I'm no further ahead in getting them under control than I was when I eagerly agreed to the operation. My fear is that this is becoming just another routine procedure like lipo or botox injections. And that is sad.