IS WEIGHT LOSS (BARIATRIC) SURGERY FOR YOU? Not everyone who struggles with a weight problem is a candidate for bariatric surgery. You might be a ...
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY IS WEIGHT LOSS (BARIATRIC) SURGERY FOR YOU? Not everyone who struggles with a weight problem is a candidate for bariatric surgery. You might be a candidate if: •You are at least 100 lbs. overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 40 for at least five years, or a BMI of 35 or more with obesity-related health issues like diabetes, severe joint pain, or high blood pressure •You are between 18 and 65 years of age •You have previously attempted to lose weight in a medically supervised program (a requirement for many insurance providers)
BASICS OF BARIATRIC SURGERY According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, some 200,000 Americans have weight-loss surgery each year. It’s a choice people make for their appearance and quality of life, but most importantly, for their health. After cigarette smoking, severe obesity, which is clinically defined as a body weight at least 100 pounds above the medical “ideal” for one’s height and age, is the second-leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Excess weight is a risk factor for a variety of dangerous conditions, including the following: •Heart disease •Diabetes •Sleep apnea •Metabolic syndrome •High blood pressure
RISKS AND REWARDS OF A LIFE-CHANGING DECISION Many people find the significant weight loss that follows bariatric surgery greatly improves their health and quality of life: •Under medical supervision, people taking medication for type 2 diabetes and/or high blood pressure may be able to reduce or even discontinue their medications •Daily activities such as walking the dog, taking the stairs, or caring for children become less tiring and physically challenging •Many patients report positive emotional and psychological changes While it is proven to deliver multiple health benefits, weight-loss surgery requires preparation and lifestyle changes both before and after. What’s more, like every surgical procedure, bariatric surgery poses certain risks. Sometimes known as “metabolic surgery,” these procedures actually alter your metabolism and require lifelong dietary restrictions.
•High cholesterol •Osteoarthritis •Stroke No wonder so many people who have been struggling with their weight for years eventually turn to surgical solutions.
WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS Success after bariatric surgery is dependent on your readiness and commitment, and on working with a program and team you can trust. Here are some important things to consider as you make your decision: •Broad expertise and experience in a range of procedures – There are many different weight-loss surgeries, and not all bariatric surgeons perform them all. Many techniques can be performed minimally invasively for fewer complications and a faster recovery. You need a surgeon who understands your needs and health issues and works with you to determine the weight-loss surgery that’s right for you. •A collaborative and experienced team – Surgeons who have been board certified in bariatric surgery, dedicated surgical nurses, anesthesiologists, technicians, and nutritionists. •A robust support program – Long-term, the success of your procedure depends on you. Choose a program that offers classes, training, and support before, during, and after your procedure. •A dedicated bariatric unit – Special equipment and accommodations for bariatric surgery patients help enhance your safety and comfort. The fact that a hospital has a dedicated bariatric unit is evidence of their commitment to their patients and their program. •Awards and accreditations – Recognition from prestigious third-party organizations is the hallmark of quality. El Camino Hospital is accredited by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and is a recipient of the Healthgrades® Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award™ for 4 Years in a Row.
TALK TO THE EXPERTS Choosing to have bariatric surgery is one of the most life-altering decisions you can make. Don’t be afraid to interview several surgeons to find your “perfect fit.” In a different way, former patients are experts too. See if the doctor will put you in touch with former patients for a personal perspective on life after weight-loss surgery. Some programs have bariatric surgery support groups, which provide great opportunities to learn from former patients.
Karen Thomas, Coordinator, Weight-Loss Surgery
For more information or to request a private consultation, please call 650-988-8415 to speak to our program coordinator.