Before taking the step to get rid of your weight surgically, we expect you to have done as much research as possible about bariatric surgery. Generally, not every overweight individual is a good candidate for bariatric surgery. However, any person whose health has been affected by their extra weight, or who has failed to shed the fat by other means may be eligible.
Bariatric surgery is a fast, safe, and effective way to not only reduce weight, but also ward off the dangers of obesity, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, among others. Dr. Benjamin Clapp MD FACS recommends that patients consider bariatric surgery when dealing with moderate obesity, and a BMI between 35 and 40, rather than waiting until their BMI is over 40 or even 50 when the patient is less likely to enjoy the full benefits of the procedure.
There are many different approaches to bariatric surgery, though the most common ones are:
- Sleeve gastrectomy – Used by around 60 – 70% of obese patients, the procedure requires the doctor to remove 80% of your stomach. This procedure is particularly suited for patients with a BMI of 35 to 40.
- Gastric bypass – This procedure is recommended for severely obese patients. It involves bisecting the stomach and small intestines into two segments, and then linking the smaller ones together to reduce both your food intake and absorption in the intestines. It can result in 60-80% excess weight loss, with long-term results that extend over 20 years after surgery. The procedure also helps to resolve most obesity-related health problems.
Please keep in mind that surgery is usually considered as a last resort, when diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes fail. The weight loss from surgery typically ranges from 40 to 80% of your “excess” weight.
Keep in mind that the results vary for different patients depending on motivation, how close they follow the doctor’s recommendations, and on-going support. Most of the weight loss occurs during the first few months after surgery, and continues for 12-18 months post bariatric surgery.
Surgical weight loss programs are focused on delivering long-term health, and include a number of activities before your surgery, as well as post-operative care, a customized workout routine, nutritional counseling, support groups, and more. All these components are necessary for great success and keeping the extra weight off for life.