Am I A Candidate For Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery has been a lifesaver for thousands of patients whose weight affects their health. But not everyone is a candidate for bariatric surgery.
Weight loss surgery is a serious procedure that makes surgical changes to your body’s digestive system. It requires a great deal of preparation and a long road to recovery after the surgery, including drastic lifestyle changes.
Are you a candidate for bariatric surgery? The following considerations can give you some food for thought to help inform your decision:
Characteristics of a Bariatric Surgery Patient
Bariatric surgery is first and foremost a medical need. Patients must meet certain health criteria before a doctor will consider surgery as a treatment option.
Generally speaking, weight loss surgery could be a viable option for patients that
- Have tried to lose weight through diet and exercise, but have been unsuccessful;
- Have a BMI of 40 or greater; or
- Your BMI is 35 or greater AND you have a serious weight-related issue, such as high blood pressure or Type 2 Diabetes
In some severe cases, you may be a candidate if your BMI is below 35 and you have severe weight-related health issues.
Assessing Mental Readiness
Deciding to undergo bariatric surgery is a life-altering decision. It’s not just a matter of physical need, but also mental readiness.
During the first couple of weeks after weight loss surgery, patients will be on a clear liquid diet. From there, they can move on to thicker liquids and work their way back to solids. This is the first of many major challenges that patients need to prepare for to meet their weight loss goals.
Weight loss surgery isn’t a magic cure-all on its own. Patients must also commit themselves to lifestyle changes, such as changing their diet, controlling portions, exercising, and putting their health first. It requires patients to completely change the way they think about food and their health.
It’s not easy to incorporate all these changes at once.
Getting the right mindset prior to surgery is essential. Otherwise, your goals may always be out of reach, even with the surgery.
Who Should Not Have the Surgery
Meeting the requirements above doesn’t necessarily mean surgery is right for you.
For starters, weight loss is a journey that is most successful when you’re not alone. You’ll need support from your family and friends to keep you motivated and avoid letting you sabotage your diet.
There are a few disqualifying factors that may prevent you from receiving the surgery:
- You’re over the age of 65 (there are some exceptions to this)
- You’re a heavy drinker or take illicit drugs
- You have risky pre-existing medical conditions
- You plan to become pregnant within the next year
- You’re currently undergoing treatment for cancer
If you’re just overweight and need to lose a few pounds, weight loss surgery is likely too serious an option to consider. Doctors will rarely consider patients that have a BMI of under 35.
Bottom Line: Am I a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
Are you a candidate for bariatric surgery? This guide isn’t meant to be a decision-making tool, but rather give you a starting point so you can discuss your options with your doctor.
Bariatric surgery can change your life, as long as you’re willing to support your decision through other lifestyle changes.
For more insights on what to expect with weight loss surgery, head back to our blog.
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|Alli "Kat". is a 10 year post-op Gastric Bypass patient with 7 years of Nutrition Counseling for other Bariatric patients. She has several published prints on nutrition and overall health for Bariatric post-op life. In her free time, Alli enjoys kayaking, watching clouds roll by, and cooking for her family.|