Weight Loss Surgery
Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?
The Obesity Rate in the U.S. is Among the Highest in the World
Today, more than a third of adults in the United States are considered obese, meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) over 30. The healthcare costs associated with obesity in this country are staggering, with some estimates as high as $200 billion dollars per year.
How to Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. To see if your BMI is considered healthy, overweight or obese, you can search online for one of many free calculators that will make it faster and easier for you. But if you prefer to figure it out yourself, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Determine your weight in kilograms.
- Measure your height in centimeters.
- Divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in centimeters) squared.
The Difference Between Obesity and Morbid Obesity
Morbid or extreme obesity is more than just being overweight. Morbid obesity is defined by having a BMI over 40, which equals being roughly 80 to 100 pounds overweight. Carrying that much extra weight can have a significant and dangerous impact on your health.
Why Should you Consider Weight Loss Surgery?
Obesity, and especially morbid obesity, is a serious medical condition. Every day, more than 1,000 people in the United States will die from obesity and its related health conditions.
Health problems related to or caused by morbid obesity include:
- Respiratory dysfunction
- Sleep apnea
- Elevated cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Urinary stress incontinence
Morbid obesity also puts you at a higher risk of developing:
- Colon cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Breast cancer
Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?
The first and best option for losing weight is always to try eating better and exercising more. However, if non-surgical approaches have been unsuccessful for you, weight loss surgery may be your best option, assuming you:
- Have a BMI of 40 or higher
- Have a BMI between 35 and 39.9 along with diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure or debilitating arthritis
- Have high-risk health problems related to your obesity, such as sever sleep apnea or heart disease
- Have a physical problem, like being unable to work or walk, because of your obesity
- Are unlikely to lose weight using additional non-surgical methods
- Are committed to making post-surgery changes to diet and behaviors
- Are aware of the potential for complications or failure
Remember, there is no guarantee that any weight loss approach, including surgery, will be successful for everyone. Before you choose to have weight loss surgery, you should discuss your options with your doctors and your family. You will need the support of everyone around you to give you the best chance possible for long-term success and a healthier outcome.
What Surgical Options are Available?
If you and your doctor decide that weight loss surgery is right for you, there are several options available, and your doctor will guide you to the best surgical technique based on your needs. The most popular types of weight loss surgery available today include:
- Gastric bypass surgery limits the amount of food you can eat by creating a smaller pouch within your stomach that is only about 5-10% the size of your “old stomach.” Gastric bypass surgery can now also be done using the da Vinci® robot, so you can get the same benefits with less pain, less scarring, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery.
- Gastric banding is a procedure in which an adjustable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach. It can then be inflated to reduce the size of your stomach, limiting food intake.
- Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy reduces the size of the stomach by stapling it into a smaller sleeve so that you feel full sooner.
Remember, the decision to have weight loss surgery is a big one, and it should be made carefully. Before you decide to have any of the above procedures, you should make sure you:
- Have full understanding of the risks and benefits of each procedure
- Accept any dietary changes or restrictions that will result
- Understand that regular exercise is essential for any weight loss program
- Commit to life-long follow-up appointments with your surgeon
Learning More About Weight Loss Surgery
If you want to learn more about what it’s like to undergo weight loss surgery, one of the best ways is to try to speak to people who have had similar procedures. Many hospitals also offer seminars and support groups for patients who are considering weight loss procedures.
If you’d like to learn more about any of the procedures mentioned here, or if you’d like more information about upcoming informational events and support groups, there is plenty of information available through the Middlesex Health Center for Weight Loss Surgery.