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Bariatric Surgery: Is It for You?

September 29, 2021

You might be getting frustrated if you’re eating a healthy diet and exercising, but the number on the scale isn’t budging. And if your weight is affecting your health, it can be even more worrying. 

It might be time to consider bariatric surgery. 

Bariatric surgery is the collective term for surgeries that help with weight loss. This procedure is usually done when typical weight loss strategies haven’t worked. Bariatric surgery also can help patients manage serious health conditions or lower their risk for those conditions. 

These surgeries make physical changes to your digestive system that may limit your appetite and/or reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. 

Do You Qualify for Bariatric Surgery? 

You may qualify for bariatric surgery if you have a BMI between 35 and 39.9 along with a chronic condition, such as:

Having a BMI of 40 or greater, regardless of obesity-related conditions, qualifies a patient for surgery. Additional factors may also be considered such as your age and

ability and willingness to follow a vitamin and diet regimen following the surgery. 

Disqualifications for Bariatric Surgery 

Sometimes the risks involved with these procedures may outweigh the benefits, and various factors may disqualify a patient from having these surgeries, including: 

  • History of kidney failure

  • Heart issues

  • Liver cirrhosis

  • Mental health 

A psychological assessment is mandatory to evaluate whether you are mentally prepared for the physical transformation of this procedure. 

The most important thing you should keep in mind is that you need a clear understanding of the procedure and what it entails. Your doctor will be able to walk you through the expectations— both what you can expect from the surgery and recovery as well as what’s expected of you to make sure the surgery achieves the intended result.

If you don’t qualify for bariatric surgery or it isn’t covered by your insurance, your doctor may suggest more conservative weight loss methods. 

A nonsurgical weight loss program may be prescribed including medication, nutrition and lifestyle changes. Psychological support will also be provided during your weight loss journey. 

You Qualify for Surgery -- What’s Next? 

Once you’ve met the minimum requirements, you may need to undergo more assessments, such as a psychiatric and nutrition evaluation. If you intend on paying for the procedure with your health insurance, it may take between three and six months to be approved. 

Before your procedure, it’s important to understand how it works. Prepare some questions for your doctor to put your mind at ease. These could include side effects, recovery and the overall process. After the surgery, it’s vital to commit to a healthier lifestyle — including diet and regular exercise — and a vitamin regimen to ensure proper nutrition.

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