Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, promotes weight loss by decreasing the amount of food your stomach can hold, decreasing hormones that promote hunger, and in some instances limiting absorption of nutrients. It is a treatment option for obese patients who have not succeeded in achieving a normal healthy weight following measures such as dieting, medication and exercise. If this sounds like you, it may be a procedure you’ve heard about or maybe even considered. But how do you know if it’s the right treatment for you?
First, you need to meet the criteria for weight loss surgery, which include:
- BMI of 40 or higher
- BMI of 35 to 40 with health problems such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure
What is BMI? Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of your weight in relation to your height, and is a primary criterion to determine your healthy weight: (check your BMI here)
- BMI below 18.5 is underweight
- BMI 18.5 – 24.9 is the normal or healthy weight
- BMI 25.0 – 29.9 is overweight
- BMI 30.0 or more is considered obese. Obesity is a major cause of death as well as several serious health conditions including chronic heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
You will know that it’s time to consider weight loss surgery when:
- You are ready for a change in your lifestyle after surgery, such as following a carefully controlled diet and regular exercises.
- You have developed weight-related health problems such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, or obstructive sleep apnea.
- Your quality of life is diminished because of your excess weight.
- You are fit enough to undergo a surgery under general anesthesia.
- You are aware of the risks and benefits of the surgery.
- You are between 18-70 years of age.
If you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, your doctor will discuss common weight loss surgeries with you. They include:
- Vertical Sleeve gastrectomy
- Roux-en-Y Gastric bypass
- Adjustable gastric banding or Lap-Band surgery
Vertical Sleeve gastrectomy is currently the most common bariatric procedure. It works by reducing the amount of food intake, via removing a large part of the stomach and decreasing its size. After this procedure your stomach appears like a tube rather than a pouch. In addition to limiting food intake, the procedure also improves metabolism. It reduces the amount of appetite hormones and suppresses hunger. It also increases incretins and results in improved Diabetes. Because the procedure is very robust, has the safest long term profile, and does not interfere with food absorption, it is currently the bariatric surgery procedure of choice.