Do your weight issues loom large over you every minute of every day, preventing you from experiencing and enjoying your life as you should?
In some cases, diet, exercise, and discipline are not enough to achieve your weight loss goals. Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, can be a life-changing – and lifesaving -- procedure.
A National Emergency
Are you wondering, "Why should I get weight loss surgery?" In recent years, the increasing prevalence of obesity has come into focus as one of America’s greatest public health challenges. Although the U.S. only account for five percent of the world’s population, it is home to 13 percent of all overweight and obese people in the world.
More than 60 percent of American women and almost three-quarters of American men are overweight or obese. When the “norm” has moved this far from a truly healthy weight range, it can be easier to lose sight of the fact that you have a problem.
It is much more than a matter of not looking your best in a bathing suit. Obesity can significantly increase the likelihood that you may experience serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
Not a Spectator Sport
So, why bariatric surgery? To address the above issues, and more.
The first thing to understand is that bariatric surgery is not an end in itself. Success after surgery requires discipline and commitment to active engagement to restoring your health as part of the process.
Bariatric surgical treatments are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, including attention to your diet and engaging in regular exercise. While you will lose significant amounts of weight after bariatric surgery, to maintain your new, slimmer body, you will need to keep working for the rest of your life to sustain the weight loss.
Until you are determined to do everything your surgeon asks of you before and after your surgery, you should not consider bariatric procedures as an option.
Who is Eligible for Weight Loss Surgery?
The fact that you may be considered “obese” is not enough in itself to make you a candidate for bariatric surgery.
According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, these are reasons you could qualify for weight loss surgery:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is at least 40, or you are more than 100 pounds overweight
- You have a BMI of at least 35, and you also have at least two problems related to obesity. These include type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis.
- You have made sincere attempts at other methods of weight loss and they have failed.
Patients Who May Not Qualify for Bariatric Surgery
Even if you meet the criteria above, you may not automatically qualify. As with any other surgery, your general health must be good enough for you to be safe to undergo the procedure. This will be determined through a consultation with your surgeon.
You may also be ineligible if any of the following apply to you:
- You have an eating disorder that is not under control.
- You are a smoker and you are unwilling to stop smoking.
- You do not meet the BMI criteria.
- You are engaged in ongoing substance abuse.
- You are currently pregnant.
- You are unwilling to commit to the lifelong changes in your lifestyle that will make it possible for you to remain healthy.
These are the broad strokes, but each individual is unique. The only way to evaluate your condition and eligibility for bariatric surgery is with a private consultation with our bariatric surgeon. Our team of compassionate medical professionals at West Medical will help you understand your options, and take steps for a happier, healthier life ahead with confidence.
What Procedures are Available?
The essence of every bariatric surgical procedure is a method by which the size of your stomach is reduced so you feel “full” after consuming far less food.
There are several procedures that accomplish this goal:
In this procedure, the surgeon uses staples to divide your stomach into two sections. The upper section, referred to as “the pouch,” is where your food will go. It is about the size of a walnut.
Next, your small intestine is connected to a hole in the pouch, so your food will travel directly into it.
Because your new stomach can’t hold as much food, you will eat less. You will also absorb fewer calories.
In this case, a small band is placed around the top of your stomach. This also limits the amount of food that can enter your stomach, causing you to consume far less food.
In this procedure, the surgeon removes a large portion of your stomach, leaving only the narrow section at the top of the stomach. In addition to reducing the amount of space available to hold food, as the previous procedures also accomplish, this surgery can reduce your body’s production of the hormone that triggers feelings of hunger.
This surgery is more involved than other techniques for reducing your intake of food. In this case, most of the stomach is removed and a gastric sleeve is used to bypass most of your small intestine. While this will also limit how much you are able to eat, it can also reduce the opportunities that your body has to absorb nutrients from food.
A device is inserted in the abdomen that functions in a similar manner to a pacemaker. It can delivery pulses to the vagus nerve which signals the brain when the stomach is full. It is operated via a remote control outside the body.
Making Your Decision
If you have reached a point where weight loss surgery is your best – or possibly your only – option, it is essential that you work closely with a qualified, experienced bariatric surgeon. It is critical that bariatric surgery is performed by a surgeon who has a great breadth of knowledge about each procedure and can guide you towards the best option – for you.
Weight loss surgery is a change with life-long implications. You owe it to yourself to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome. Our board-certified surgeon at West Medical are ready to help you determine the best course of action, and help you have a happier, healthier, and more confident life ahead.
Contact Us Today!
We are ready to get you started on your road to health and beauty. Your first step is to contact us and schedule an initial consultation. During this time, we will establish everything we need to craft a custom treatment plan for you. Call today.
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