No matter how ‘simple’ or ‘routine’ a surgery is made out to be, invasive procedures are definitely not something to be taken lightly. However, with the shocking and unbelievable rise of obesity in Western countries, and in the United States in particular, more and more people are growing far too large much too quickly for natural means to address in the time needed. For many (if not all) people who are morbidly obese, it’s just a matter of time before the fat and weight become too much for the heart to manage, and the only way to try and save their lives is through medical and surgical intervention.
While the development of weight loss surgeries has become absolutely essential to saving hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, their availability have made many people turn to this option much too quickly. In some cases, the health industry has turned weight loss surgeries into a cash cow of sorts, with some people recommending the surgery to patients who don’t necessarily need it. Many people can still lose the weight on their own without having to go under the knife, and for the people that do need the surgery, there are also factors that need to be considered.
Do You Quality for It?
Just because you’re over weight doesn’t mean you can walk into a reputable doctor’s office and expect to be scheduled for surgery shortly thereafter. There are several criteria that doctor’s will look at to determine if weight loss surgery of any kind is a suitable option of you. One of the first criteria that doctor’s look at is your BMI. While the Body Mass Index can arguably be called a flawed method of determining health, it’s crucial for figuring out whether an individual qualifies for gastric bypass or other surgeries. Generally speaking, anyone with a BMI that exceeds 40 will qualify for surgery and should give it a thorough consideration. Meanwhile those with BMIs between 30 to 35 can still manage the weight loss on their own and should only consider it if their situation is dire.
Is A Sleeve Gastrectomy For You?
The most common type of weight loss surgery is the sleeve gastrectomy, which entails the removal of about 80% of the stomach. This may seem extreme, but in severely obese patients, stomachs have expanded to triple or quadruple the size of a normal stomach. When this procedure is done, the food that you can consume is greatly reduced and it also lowers the production appetite-increasing hormones like ghrelin. Just like your qualification for surgery in general, the kind of surgery that will work best for you depends on your BMI. The sleeve gastrectomy procedure is typically recommended for people who are in the 35 to 40 BMI zone.
Is Gastric Bypass Surgery Your Best Bet?
A second procedure to consider when it comes to weight loss surgery is gastric bypass surgery. It is the second-most common procedure to this day, second to the sleeve gastrectomy, and necessitates the bisection of the stomach and the small intestines into two halves. This reduces consumption of food and also restrict the amount of calories that the intestines absorb. Unfortunately, when it comes to gastric bypass, it will also restrict the amount of nutrients that the individual retains. As such, most people tend to lean towards a sleeve gastrectomy when possible, but gastric bypass is the typical choice for patients with a BMI over 40.
Are You Ready to Commit?
Many people look at weight loss surgery as their magic pill, but the truth is that the process doesn’t end there. You have to be committed to making a lifestyle change and putting in the hard work if you want the surgery to have long term and maintainable effects for your health and weight. While most bariatric patients will see a great improvement in health and significant weight loss immediately after the surgery, to keep the weight loss going requires making changes to your diet, your level of activity and other health related habits.
Do You Really Need It?
There’s no question that patients who are morbidly obese are running a race against time, but does that mean that surgery is the only answer for you? For example, a 250-pound woman is still considered morbidly obese but may not be in immediate risk of heart failure. On the other hand, a 400-pound woman could suffer a heart attack or a stroke at any time, thus making surgery a necessity. For the 250-pound woman, surgery doesn’t have to be on the table yet. It’s still possible for this woman to lose weight and get healthier by overhauling their lifestyle. Healthier food choices, a change in eating habits and being diligent with working out can make huge improvements in someone’s quality of living. Even if you do go under the knife, a lifestyle change is still necessary to keep the weight off, so it’s possible make a change without surgery, do it.
What Are the Post Surgery Risks?
Just because the surgery is helpful for a great majority of people doesn’t mean that it comes without risks. Patients who ignore the necessary lifestyle changes recommended by the surgeon and health care professionals can gain all the weight they’ve lost back over time. Additionally, it’s possible to cause yourself harm if your post-operative care is anywhere close to subpar. You may even blow stitches in your stomach and cause severe internal trauma if you aren’t careful and stuff yourself silly after the surgery. Failure to get enough movement in after the surgery could also possibly cause to blood clots or leg infections.
What’s Your Recovery and Maintenance Plan?
As we mentioned earlier, what comes after the weight loss surgery is far more important than the surgery itself. Patients will need a few weeks to recover from the surgery and will also need to adhere to a strict diet to avoid ripping stomach staples open. Planning meals and sticking to the program is, as such, incredibly important. It’s also important to figure out ahead of time what your next steps are after the recovery period. For some people, it starts with a gym membership. For others, it could mean resetting your system and planning meals around nutrient dense whole foods. Whatever it is, make sure to keep your doctor in the loop so that you can make healthy decisions for your future.