Bariatric surgery is a tool that can help you lose the weight that you have been unable to lose with diet and exercise alone. Its success rate is very high, but it is not a journey to be taken lightly and is not appropriate for everyone. In general, you will need to consider the physical, emotional and financial components of this weight loss option before choosing to pursue it.
When making this decision you may wish to ask yourself the following questions:
Are you willing to make permanent lifestyle changes?
Your willingness to make permanent changes in your lifestyle is essential to a successful post-surgical outcome. With the exception of laparoscopic gastric banding (LAP-BAND®) and some simple stomach stapling procedures, bariatric surgery procedures are generally irreversible. Many bariatric surgeons and insurance companies require patients seeking weight loss surgery to demonstrate their commitment to the necessary lifestyle changes by losing some weight before the surgery and, in some instances, by participating in a pre-surgical education program to help prepare them for the challenges they will face after surgery.
Are you aware of the risks involved in bariatric procedures?
No surgery, regardless of how non-invasive or minimal, is without risk. Risks vary widely from minor infections at the wound site, to serious medical complications that may require additional time in the hospital, more surgical procedures or, in rare instances, death. Current experience shows that the risk of bariatric surgery is about the same as other abdominal surgeries. However, your weight, other medical conditions that you have, and the type of procedure that you are considering, all affect the risk associated with your procedure. Your surgeon will discuss all of these factors with you and make sure you have a proper understanding of the risks you face with bariatric surgery.
Do you have realistic expectations about how your life will be affected?
Weight loss surgery is the most successful, and hence the most popular, method for treating morbid obesity. Owing to its popularity, many severely overweight people mistakenly view surgery as a cure for their weight problems and any other problems in their lives. In reality, weight loss procedures are a powerful tool that greatly improves the likelihood that morbidly obese people will be able to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off for a prolonged period of time. It is not a cure-all.
If you think bariatric surgery is right for you, congratulations! The next step is to sign up for a free bariatric surgery seminar.