For millions of Americans, weight loss surgery means more than a new look—it means a new life.
It dramatically reduces the risk of obesity-related health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes.
Weight loss surgery is also referred to as bariatric surgery.
But who is a candidate for weight loss surgery, and how is it performed? We answer these questions and dispel some myths about bariatric surgery.
Do I Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?
There are several guidelines to determine if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery, and one of our experienced weight loss surgeons can determine if the surgery is a good option for you.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, you’re a good candidate for weight loss surgery if:
- You have been unable to lose weight despite diet and exercise
- You are at least 100 pounds over what is considered your ideal body weight
- You have Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 40 (Not sure of your BMI? Use this handy calculator.
- You have a BMI of 35 and some kind of serious health problem related to obesity, such as Type 2 diabetes or heart disease
Remember that having weight loss surgery also involves transforming the way you eat after surgery. Following your weight loss surgeon’s instructions post-op will give you the greatest chance for success.
How Much Weight Can You Lose After Weight Loss Surgery?
This varies and is different for each individual. It is also affected by what type of weight loss surgery you’ve had.
If you follow your weight loss surgeon’s advice, many lose 15 to 30 percent of their starting weight.
Studies have shown that three years after weight loss surgery, the average amount of weight loss is 90 pounds.
It’s important to maintain healthy food choices and a regular exercise routine in order to keep from regaining the weight and keeping it off long-term.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Weight Loss Surgery?
In most cases, insurance will pay for part of the procedure, although you’ll have to check with your individual policy to confirm this and learn of the details.
Remember that most insurance companies have their own specific set of eligibility criteria. If you have questions, speak with your health insurance representative.
What Happens During Weight Loss Surgery?
There are several different types of procedures we perform at our Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. However, the basic procedure transforms your digestive system and how your body processes food.
We outline two of these different surgical techniques below:
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery
During this procedure, the weight loss surgeon staples the top part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. This pouch is then attached to the middle of the small intestine. This enables your body to absorb fewer calories.
Because this surgery is performed laparoscopically, weight loss surgeons only need to make
one small incision. This allows a much faster recovery than “open” surgeries.
In this technique, also called a gastric sleeve surgery, weight loss surgeons remove part of
your stomach. The remaining banana-shaped section is closed with staples. This reduces the
amount of food that can fit in the stomach, which means you’ll feel “full” sooner.
Is it Possible to Gain Back Weight After Weight Loss Surgery?
It is not likely. However, half of patients gain back a small amount of weight (around 5 percent of their body weight) within two years following the surgery, according to information from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Overall, long-term studies indicate great success with keeping weight off throughout the years.
In order to maintain the best results, it’s important to follow the diet and activity recommendations of your doctor.
How Long Will I Have to Be Out of Work After Bariatric Surgery?
This will depend upon your individual case, but most patients will be able to return to work in around one to two weeks.
Myths and Misconceptions About Weight Loss Surgery
We know that you have a lot of questions, and we don’t want you to fall prey to some of the myths about bariatric surgery that circulate on the internet. Therefore, with the help of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, we’ll tackle these misconceptions and shed some light on them.
Myth: Weight loss surgery is the “easy way out”
Truth: Many who have severe obesity have weight gain that is not helped by diet and exercise alone. Weight loss surgery is a challenging process that transforms everything about your life. Because your stomach is smaller, it dramatically changes what you can eat and when you can eat.
Myth: Those who have had bariatric surgery have serious issues related to vitamin deficiencies.
Truth: While weight loss surgery does change the amount of vitamins and minerals your body absorbs, appropriate diet and supplements minimize the effects this has on your overall health.
The key is to follow your weight loss surgeon’s instructions.
Myth: Weight loss patients often become alcoholics after they have had surgery.
Truth: If you have not had problems with alcohol abuse before the surgery, you’re not likely to have them after the surgery. The surgery does increase the sensitivity to alcohol, meaning even just a small amount can create a stronger impact.
However, the surgery does not in any way cause alcoholism in those who have consistently exercised moderation before the procedure.
Myth: Obesity is an addiction, just like drug abuse. Therefore, surgery will not help.
Truth: Obesity is caused by many factors, including metabolism, types of medications, stress and even chronic sleep loss.
Surgery has proven to be extremely effective in transforming the lives of individuals for whom diet and exercise have not helped.
Can you separate fact from fiction when it comes to information about surgical weight loss? If you have any additional questions or you’re wondering about something you saw on the internet, we encourage you to speak with us to get the facts.
I’m Interested in Bariatric Surgery. What’s Next?
First, you should attend one of our informational seminars that will review all the items you need to know in order to make an informed decision. It’s also a great time to ask questions. Consider this session the first step on your weight-loss journey.
This will provide the framework of helping you determine if this procedure is right for you.
Second, before surgery, you’ll meet with different health care providers. This gives us a “snapshot” of your current health condition and enables us to tailor a plan that will be most effective. These providers may include:
- A dietitian
- An internist
- A psychologist
- A weight loss surgeon
Remember that after weight loss surgery, your stomach is transformed. It will not hold the same amount of food that it did before the surgery. For that reason, you will have to adjust what you eat and how much of it.
Did you know there are several different types of weight loss surgeries? Or that we perform weight loss surgery using our advanced surgical robot? These seminars are a perfect opportunity to learn about the state-of-the-art procedures we offer.
See How Our Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Can Transform Your Life
We’ve worked with individuals from all walks of life who have sought help from our health care team. Many have been able to reduce or even eliminate medications taken for health problems caused by obesity.
Are you ready to get started on your new life? Contact us today.