You’ve likely have seen it in the news, social media, TV commercials, even on billboards. Weight loss surgery is an accepted part of the modern healthcare landscape. In 2018 alone, 252,000 Americans underwent weight loss surgery, and that number keeps growing by tens of thousands every year. Are you starting to wonder if weight loss surgery might be right for you?
The decision is not to be taken lightly. Weight loss surgery — “bariatric surgery” is the official term — is still surgery, with the risks that accompany any surgical procedure.
Weight loss surgery comes in two basic types. The first surgically (and permanently) reduces the size of the stomach to limit the amount of food you can eat before feeling full. The second also restricts the stomach’s size, but with bands. This technique is done laparoscopically, which means smaller incisions, less scarring and a faster recovery. Surgery can be completed in as little as an hour and many patients go home the same day. This procedure is also reversible.
Both these techniques will change your eating habits — whether you like it or not. Still, either can dramatically improve your health.
To see if weight loss surgery might be an option for you, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to each, see your doctor for more information.
- Have you repeatedly tried diets and exercise, or worked with a weight loss counselor?
- Do you have an obesity-related medical condition, or difficulty walking, working or caring for your family?
- Is your Body Mass Index (BMI) 40 or above (a serious health risk)? To determine your BMI, take your weight in pounds and multiply by 703.1. Divide that by your height in inches, then divide by your height in inches again.
- Are you prepared to follow a special diet for the rest of your life? Very small portions, vitamins and frequent doctor visits are required. Overeating can make you very ill. And milk shakes, high-fat and high-fiber foods may be off the menu forever.
Think you’re ready to take the next step? Visit our online directory to find a bariatric surgeon near you.