If you’re considering weight-loss surgery, there’s a good chance you’re getting plenty of pre- and post-op guidance from a doctor you trust. But that’s not always the case, and for many people who have this type of procedure, life after surgery can be full of surprises — the good, the bad, and even the downright embarrassing. If you’re thinking about undergoing bariatric surgery, here are a few things you should know that the doctor may forget to mention.
1. You may get very depressed post-surgery.
There’s a proven link between obesity and depression, and while the majority of patients who undergo bariatric surgery do experience an overall improvement in their well-being after surgery, feelings of depression can worsen for some. Researchers from Yale University published a study in the Obesity Journal in which 13 percent of patients studied reported an increase in Beck Depression Inventory – a numerical rating that measures eating disorder behavior, self-esteem, and social functioning – six to 12 months after gastric bypass surgery, a time frame that the authors conclude is an important period to assess for depression and associated symptoms.
2. Excess skin can be an issue — and corrective surgery is costly.
Though the post-surgery weight loss may be gradual enough that your body and skin can adjust slowly, many people are left with such an excess that it requires cosmetic surgery to fix. And unless it’s deemed medically necessary (such as a surplus of droopy skin causing a rash or infection), your insurance company will not be footing the bill. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2013 member surgeons performed nearly 42,000 body contouring operations — reshaping of breasts, arms, thighs, and stomachs — for patients who lost substantial amounts of weight. Body contouring operations can cost anywhere from $4,000 to much, much higher.