Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for Me?

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Posted: July 26th, 2019

Patients interested in bariatric surgery should undergo a thorough evaluation in order to determine if the procedure will benefit their physical and mental health.

Weight loss, or bariatric surgery, is a procedure that alters your stomach and digestive tract in a way that limits how much you can eat and how many nutrients your body can absorb. Common bariatric surgeries include gastric bypass and gastric sleeve, both of which are safe, proven ways to lose weight and reduce the risk of weight-related health problems. That said, the effectiveness of weight loss surgery depends on a patient’s willingness to transform their lifestyle — and maintain these changes over the long term.

As such, you must undergo a thorough physical and psychological evaluation before you can be considered a good candidate for weight loss surgery. Your doctor will assess the risks and benefits of your unique situation and decide whether you’re ready to make lasting changes. In some cases, patients may be required to lose weight before bariatric surgery in order to ensure the procedure will be effective.

A good candidate for weight loss surgery must meet several important criteria. Patients with the following qualifications are those who are most likely to benefit from a bariatric procedure:

  1. Efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful.

During your evaluation, your doctor will review your weight history, attempts at dieting, overall eating habits, exercise regimen, and stress level. A patient will likely be considered a good candidate for bariatric surgery if they have demonstrated difficulty or inability to lose weight through traditional means.

  1. Body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher or patient is more than 100 pounds overweight.

Bariatric surgery is best performed on patients who need to lose a significant amount of weight, and whose health will likely improve considerably once they have a lower BMI. Weight loss surgery is generally not recommended for patients who are overweight but not obese.

  1. BMI is 35 or higher and patient is experiencing serious weight-related health problems.

If a patient has a BMI under 40 but is experiencing weight-related health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or heart disease, they may be considered a good candidate for weight loss surgery. As a rule of thumb, these patients are expected to have a BMI of at least 35, but bariatric surgery may be recommended for patients with BMIs under 35 if they are suffering from a severe weight-related medical condition.

  1. The patient is ready to undergo surgery and make significant lifestyle changes.

During the course of your evaluation, your doctor will also assess your motivation to lose weight and your psychological readiness to undergo a bariatric procedure. First and foremost, patients should be prepared to adjust how they eat after bariatric surgery in order to achieve long-lasting results. Further, since weight loss surgery may increase the severity of symptoms in patients with pre-existing mental health conditions, doctors should ensure such conditions are well under control before recommending surgery.

Patients who meet the above criteria should talk to their doctor about the benefits of weight loss surgery and how it can transform their life. Those who are willing to change their habits and outlook will likely see long-term results that improve their health, confidence, and overall perspective.

Interested in how weight loss surgery can help you reach your weight loss goals? Set up an appointment today to meet with our doctors.