Patients More Likely to Self-Harm After Bariatric Surgery

Though the numbers are not enormous, research has shown that self-harm is more common after bariatric surgery than before – as much as 50% more common, although this is a bit inflated as the number is 3 out of every 1,000 post bariatric patients compared to 2 out of every 1,000 pre-bariatric patients.

It’s not clear if this study is applicable to the population at large, given that it only included 8,000 patients total. However, it is still a concern when it comes to weight loss – what could cause self-harm, and possibly even suicide, AFTER weight loss compared to how they felt BEFORE the surgery?

Researchers haven’t come up with a specific reason, but the most likely issue has to do with realistic body expectations. That is, many patients undergo bariatric surgery not necessarily to save their lives, but to try to lose weight and see their body in a more positive light. It’s likely many of these patients:

  • Already Had a Mental Health Diagnosis – Research does show that most people that self-harm already were diagnosed with anxiety or depression before their surgery, indicating that they went into surgery already struggling with a mental health issue.
  • Were Unprepared for the Changes – Many patients expect to love their bodies after they lose weight. But bariatric surgery is considered much more of a health/life saving operation. It is not a cosmetic operation. When you lose weight quickly, you will have a significant amount of skin and tissue that you may find unattractive. That is why experts recommend a body lift after weight loss, to give you back some of the natural contours and shapes.
  • Expected a Full Recovery – Mental health is a separate issue from obesity. Patients that go into bariatric surgery hoping that it will help cure their depression or anxiety are likely to be disappointed, because your mental health is its own separate health issue that needs to be addressed.

In addition, for many individuals struggling with obesity, their behaviors and food were their way of coping with stress. Those behaviors are either gone, or interfere with their weight loss goals.

Creating Realistic Expectations with Your Weight Loss

Bariatric surgery is by far the best choice that morbidly obese men and women can make for their overall health when diet and exercise has failed. Its success rate is excellent, and the benefits of losing weight on improving your lifespan outweigh the risks of surgery.

But realistic expectations and a plan of action are crucial. If you are struggling with a mental health issue before surgery, you should strongly consider addressing it before, during and after. You also have to be prepared for the changes that may come to your body, and if your goal is cosmetic more than health, you should prepare what you need to consider a body lift after weight loss, as this is it is one of the most effective ways to lose your excess skin and tissue.

To find out more about plastic surgery after weight loss, contact Plastic Surgery Body Contouring Center today at 949-644-2442.