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Addressing Anxiety Before Bariatric Surgery

June 14, 2019

Anxiety before any surgical procedure is perfectly normal. There are many unknowns and that can be scary. Bariatric patients may feel even more anxious because the results do not become apparent on the day of surgery – they have months and years of weight loss to pursue and maintain. Patients are often concerned about the safety of the procedure and potential complications after surgery. Of course, they may also worry about the long-term results. While all of these concerns are justified, they are also very manageable and the team here at Advanced Bariatric and Surgical Specialists makes it our goal to ensure the smoothest surgical process for each of our patients. So, let’s jump in and see how to best manage the anxieties and fears we may have before surgery.

Know Who Is Caring for You

First, learn more about your surgeon. You will likely start your search on the Internet where you can get an idea for your surgeon’s experience and see some of their testimonials and success stories. From there, you will continue to consultation where you will have the opportunity to meet your surgeon face-to-face, meet the staff that will be caring for you both before and after surgery and get answers to your questions. Ideally, come to your consultation prepared with a list of questions and feel free to ask about your surgeon’s experience, the potential complications and how they’re managed and the expectations that you should have for your procedure.

Hear It from Others Who Have Been There

Second, speaking to other patients about their bariatric surgery experience can go a long way toward alleviating some of your anxiety. Try to fully understanding the process from the patient’s point of view. Learn more about the results that others have experienced.   Get excited about your own potential weight loss. We have found that the best avenue to accomplish this is through our Facebook Support Group.

The Numbers Speak for Themselves

It’s also important to look at surgical statistics. Surgery has come a long way in the past several decades. New devices, technologies and techniques have made surgery of all kinds more effective and safer than ever before. This is particularly true of bariatric surgery. Today, bariatric surgery is one of the safest surgical procedures with a serious complication rate approximating that of a simple gallbladder removal. The techniques and devices used today allow your surgeon the most flexibility with the least amount of risk. Further, having surgery with a highly experienced surgeon such as Dr. Chang further reduces operative risk and improves the likelihood of weight loss success over the long-term.

Practice Relaxation

Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, exercises and more will help to alleviate anxiety and clear your mind. These are also useful after surgery, so it is always a good thing to start sooner rather than later. Stress is a leading cause of anxiety and weight gain and can be detrimental to your weight loss success.

What not to do when you’re stressed about your procedure

Most importantly, do not seek out stories about the failure of a procedure or the complications someone has experienced. Why? First, no surgical procedure is 100% successful and there will always be horror stories, no matter how rare, floating around the Internet. Reading about these will only serve to increase your anxiety level. Remember that a loud voice doesn’t mean it represents the majority. Instead, during consultation, speak to your surgeon about the potential complications and how they can be avoided. Many times, people who experience complications have not been following their postoperative guidelines closely or are lax with their wound care and recovery protocols. Others may employ a less experienced surgeon or go overseas where medical standards may not be up to par with the United States.

Second, do not stay quiet. It is important to communicate your fears and anxieties to the support system around you. And don’t be embarrassed, we’ve never come across anyone that wasn’t a little nervous about surgery. Let us help you turn that anxiety into excitement.

Patients concerned about how much weight they will lose over the long-term should take comfort in the knowledge that they have a great deal of control over their success. Bariatric surgery is a marathon, not a sprint. The degree to which you are committed to your new lifestyle and improved health is the primary indicator of success.

Just know that our office is available to you to discuss any concerns you may have about surgery. We can help you decide whether surgery, especially bariatric surgery, is the best option. It is not for everyone. We look forward to speaking to you openly and candidly to learn more about your goals and to see if surgery makes the most sense for you.

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