Brought to you by Digital Nod.


Weight loss surgery is rising in popularity. According to estimates by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric surgery, the number of bariatric surgeries have steadily increased year after year, going from 158,000 in 2011 to 256,000 in 2019. The favoured type of surgery has changed with time, too, with gastric bands becoming less popular and gastric sleeves being used in 59.4% of surgeries in 2019.

Despite increases in the confidence of and the demand for more surgeries, weight loss surgery is still surrounded by myths. Dr. Mel Thomas Ortega, a board-certified plastic surgeon, operating in Miami, dispels three of the most damaging.

It’s a Vanity Procedure and the Benefit is Purely Cosmetic

There’s a pervasive opinion that weight loss procedures are done exclusively for aesthetic purposes. That myth persists on the false belief that excess weight is only an aesthetic problem. In some people, excess weight is accompanied by a variety of health problems which could be improved by losing weight.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with doing it for aesthetic reasons, but that’s certainly not the only benefit of weight-loss surgery,” says Dr. Mel Ortega. “For example, a study has shown that weight loss surgery reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by 40%. It can be a life-saving procedure.”

The Weight Will Always Come Back, Eventually

A common experience with any weight loss method includes initial promising results, hitting a plateau, and then regaining the weight. It’s one of the reasons people might be reluctant to change their diet, start exercising, or try other weight loss methods, such as surgery.

“Weight-loss surgery has a higher success rate than dieting,” explains Dr. Mel Thomas Ortega. “Most of the people lose weight after surgery and don’t regain it.” Of course, some lifestyle changes might be necessary, but from everything modern medicine knows about weight loss surgery, it’s usually a success.

Liposuction Is a Better Option for Weight Loss

Even though it’s commonly performed using minimally invasive methods, weight loss surgery is still a surgery. For some, other options, such as liposuction, might seem like a better way to lose weight. This myth is perpetuated by a lack of a fundamental understanding of how liposuction works.

“When we do liposuction, we remove fat cells from the body,” explains Dr. Mel Thomas Ortega. “When people regain weight, they don’t create new fat cells. Instead, the excess fat is stored in the remaining cells.” This can lead to a very uneven fat distribution and a lot of aesthetic problems.

“Liposuction is great for sculpting,” adds Dr. Ortega. “When it comes to weight loss, only the procedures that help patients keep the weight off should count.”


This article is brought to you by Digital Nod and not necessarily representative of the views of The Herald.