So…you’re finally ready to do it! You’ve struggled with the decision for years.
All those fad diets, diet pills and the best intentions haven’t worked. You have tried it all, from smoothies and shakes to the grapefruit & egg diet. Even that picture on your refrigerator, reminding you that you too can be thin and healthy, hasn’t delivered on its promise.
Now it’s time to do your homework and learn everything you can about bariatric surgery (gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and lap band surgery). You want to know how much the procedure costs, how long it takes to recover and how quickly you will lose weight, among other things.
You have so many questions and are actually getting excited about the prospect.
You might want to start with, “Is bariatric surgery right for me?”
Good candidates for bariatric surgery are people who have remained severely obese after trying other non-surgical approaches or who have an obesity-related disease and are ready to make a lifetime commitment to a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
Most weight loss surgeons require that you meet the following criteria to be eligible for surgery:
Body Mass Index (BMI) between 40 and 60
BMI of 35 with co-morbidities (hypertension, diabetes, or sleep apnea)
18-65 years of age
No severe psychological or medical conditions that would make surgery a high risk
No drug or alcohol addictions
Have attempted other medical weight-loss programs
Highly motivated to change your lifestyle and follow the prescribed diet and exercise regimen
Have support from family and friends
Psychologically stable with realistic expectations of outcome
You are at least 100 pounds overweight
When is Bariatric Surgery Not Recommended?
Certain patients, although they meet the weight guidelines, may not be suitable candidates for successful weight loss surgery. These patients include:
Patients suffering from uncontrolled, severe psychiatric illnesses
Anyone addicted to drugs or alcohol
Medical conditions that make surgery unadvisable
Cancer patients who are not in remission
Most patients over 65
Patients whose expectations are unrealistic
You are having problems with your spouse and you think they will them love you more if you lose your excess weight.
You think you can lose weight without changing your mental attitude about food, decreasing your food intake, and eating healthy food.
Women who plan to become pregnant within one year
Before proceeding to the operating room, extensive medical and psychological testing should be conducted to determine if you meet the guidelines and are a good candidate for successful weight loss surgery. Recommended pre-op testing includes:
Psychiatric interview and testing
If you think weight loss surgery may be the solution to your weight problems, consult a bariatric surgeon in your area. Learn everything you can about the procedure before you make a decision. Reading postings by weight loss surgery patients can give you some insight into what to expect before, during, and after bariatric surgery.
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