Weight-Loss Surgery And Whether It Can Help

Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is a severe health issue in the United States. Many people struggle every day trying to lose weight and keep it off. Even when they are immediately successful, they’ll often slip back into old habits and put the weight back on. This battle to drop their weight, slim their waistline, or just feel better each day often seems Sisyphean. Weight-loss surgery is one approach that provides hope for those struggling to drop their weight. Also known as bariatric surgery, this treatment can help those with sleep apnea, diabetes, and an increased risk of stroke and heart disease from obesity.

Types of Weight-Loss Surgery And Whether They Can Help

There are numerous weight-loss surgeries, all classified under the term bariatric surgery. All of them are geared towards reducing the amount you can eat. Many also impact the number of nutrients you can absorb each day. The most frequently performed bariatric surgery in the US is sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure removes a significant amount of the stomach, creating a tubelike sleeve. It’s important to know that treatments like these are but one component of a whole-health treatment plan. A willingness and ability to follow this plan are necessary to achieve and maintain your weight-loss goals.

You must meet some guidelines before someone qualifies for weight-loss surgery. These guidelines are largely based on the patient’s Body Mass Index (BMI). Those with a BMI of 40 or higher are often candidates for bariatric surgery. Other potential candidates include:

  • Those with BMI of 35 or Higher
    • Must have at least one obesity-related condition
    • Six months of weight-loss attempts supervised by a specialist

Adolescents sometimes qualify under the following conditions:

  • BMI 40 or higher with obesity-related medical conditions
  • BMI 35 or higher with severe medical conditions related to obesity

Sometimes, the practitioner may deem it appropriate to follow something other than a BMI guideline. These include growth charts for adolescents. If the patient has a BMI significantly higher than the average, bariatric surgery may be called for.

How To Know If It’s Time To Consider Weight-Loss Surgery

Determining if you need weight-loss surgery will often require the advisement of an entire team of professionals. These professionals can include surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses in weight-loss management, psychiatrists, or other specialists. The first stage in the process will be an exam to determine if you have any currently-active obesity-related conditions. You will also be assessed for concerns that will make the surgery more difficult to accomplish. Some of these tests may include checking for:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease

While the above can complicate the surgery, it may still be possible for you to receive the necessary care. However, the majority of those with the following conditions are typically unable to receive this treatment:

  • Severe heart disease that prevents anesthesia from being used safely
  • Blood-clotting disorders such as hemophilia
  • Mental health or behavioral concerns

Once the surgery has been completed, you’ll need to adhere to a strict diet. This will require you to maintain an active exercise routine and other healthy behaviors. Being in stable mental health is essential to ensuring you can meet the demands of your treatment plan. With the help of your team, you can overcome a lifetime of struggling with weight loss.


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Linda Clark, NP

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