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It always gets under my skin just a it to hear WLS elective. For many (most?), it's saving our lives as surely as surgery for cancer or some other life threatening illness. I didn't just wake up one day and think "gee, surgery sounds like the easy way to do this. " I've struggled with my weight and its ramifications for years. I was dying a slow and sure death. After reading about wls, I know it's going to take big sacrifices, major life changes, possible complications.

Really, elective? No wonder some people look down on WlS or equate it with the current societal drive to be beautiful through surgery, injections and so forth.

In my opinion, we need to get the medical community to stop calling it elective. We all know we've had to demonstrate unhealthy bmi, lack of success with diets after multiple sincere attempts and medical comorbidities. This isn't a luxury surgery; it's not an attempt to fit in size 2 clothes. It is a desperate, deliberate and informed decision to excise the metaphorical cancer that is killing each of us.

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You go girl !

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What you say is so true! Even my surgeon put down my primary reason for wanting the surgery was to be thinner and look better, like it was some vanity thing. Yes, sure it will be nice to look better but definitely the top of my list is health, health, health all the way. I did explain this to him in no uncertain terms!

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That work elective is such a crock.

Recently I was told that I needed a 3 level cervical spinal fusion because both my arms were weak, numb and I have severe chronic pain in my neck. They did the tests and learned that I have severe spinal stenosis and the arthritis is actually causing a severe flattening in my spinal cord.

They called this an elective surgery too! My issue started 14 years before with 1 level and slight damage and it only got worse and worse by doing nothing. Had I continued to do nothing the damage would continue to get worse and possibly cause permanent damage to the nerves and my spinal cord.

How can you can this elective?! When I had my bypass surgery I was very very close to needing kidney dialysis to survive. The solution, lose a massive amount of weight therefore giving my kidneys a break. But WLS is elective!

I think they should redefine that word. As a patient of both of these, I felt the option of doing nothing was not an option at all!

I totally agree with you guys!

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Thank you for posting this! I totally agree! I think the term "elective" should only be used to describe surgeries that are purely for aesthetics. WLS is certainly not one of those. My surgeon is actually pretty cool in that he's an advocate for reducing the stigma associated with WLS. He's lobbying for all insurance companies cover it and to stop making us jump through so many hoops. He said that when you have breast cancer, you can be treated at any hospital and your insurance will cover it, no questions asked. WLS should be like that. Even if some of the prep required by insurance companies is helpful, it should be the surgeons and medical professionals making those decisions, not insurance companies.

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Having dealt with the medical field for a long time, I can tell you it's nothing personal. They define "elective" surgery as anything that can be put off and not cause death. So your tumor removal is elective if it's not cancerous, your hysterectomy is elective if you aren't bleeding out at the time it is removed, knee replacements, etc because technically you won't die today if you don't have the surgery even if it will greatly improve your quality of life and extend your years. It's just terminology.

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What saji said. Lots of things are elective like gall bladder removal, joint replacements that are necessary. Sometimes you need to separate yourself from medical language. It's kinda like how people get offended by the word obese which is a medical word w negative connotation, or how a miscarriage is actually called a spontaneous abortion. It's just terminology.

Edited by eowynmn

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I totally understand that it's just a word but seems to me there should be a middle ground. To have a surgery that will keep you from dying or being crippled and then have others say, "you mean you are having elective surgery" isn't just demoralizing, it sends the wrong message. I am also in the health field and as a part of what I do I am an advocate for those with disabilities and with Migraines. A large part of what we have begun to be successful in doing is getting the powers that be to change misleading wording that can be seen as pejorative.

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It's the stringent miser insurance companies that cause this, you have to have co-morbidity issues to say it is necessary, hopefully in the next few years the government will be willing to more tightly regulate what insurance companies pay for, I was already told that my "excess skin" surgery would be considered "Elective" if I have no issues with it, so they are basically telling me to try to have discomfort and infections first....... Oh the irony

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Language has power. But you choose how to use it and interpret it.

"Elective" for me has nothing to do with insurance or how the medical profession sees it. "Elective" means it is a choice I made, I own it. I could have done something different or nothing at all. Instead I "elected" WLS.

3 years ago I elected to have both of my knees replaced. What got me through the horror of all the pain from the surgery and having to learn to walk all over again was that I knew it was my choice. No matter how much pain I was in I never felt sorry for myself or regretted it. I worked like an SOB. Today most people have no idea my knees are fake.

WLS was for me, the same. It was my choice. I own it, I embrace it. Because I elected to do it. No one made me. That to me, gives that word power.

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I think it's more about how insurances like to manipulate that word, I work in the medical field and one of our biggest things for patients is "Informed consent" meaning that every aspect of ANY procedure even a simple X-Ray is understood, and since all patients that have full capacity to decide things on their own( except in emergency situations) even cancer treatment is elective, we have the right to refuse any treatment, but then it becomes more of a moral dilemma, insurances don't care about that especially now that we have to carry it, here in Texas before mandatory car insurance laws, I was 19yrs old and paid $45.00 for full coverage, and after the law was changed I paid $98.00 for the same coverage after awhile, there needs to be changes and people need to advocate against these ridiculous insurances who by the way create a major enterprise along with hospital systems that charge over $80,000 for a two night stay, He who has the gold gets the cure, if you have straw you just get to live a little longer.......

Edited by laguerr13

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Elective surgery is the boob job I'm going to have after I've met my goal weight. Making people live with illness (including excess weight) is almost criminal.

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I'm not surprised some insurance companies call WLS elective.

We live in a country (US) that considers hearing loss COSMETIC!

It boggles the mind....

(Steps off the Nurse soapbox )....

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