Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for Me?

If you’ve been considering weight loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery), you may be wondering if it’s the right choice for you. It’s not a decision that you make lightly. Getting weight loss surgery will change your life. You will need to alter your lifestyle and diet after surgery, and you won’t be able to eat the same things you used to or in equal amounts. Some of these changes are required before surgery as well. So, before you decide on anything, make sure you’re confident that you are ready to do whatever you need to do to make your surgery successful.

Why Choose Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is one of the most effective interventions for helping severely obese people reverse the often devastating effects extreme weight has on health as well as on quality and duration of life.

Many people who consider weight loss surgery have spent years trying to lose weight and keep it off. And it’s not a lack of willpower. Often, a body with long-term obesity will defend itself against weight loss by reducing metabolism, making it more challenging to lose and keep weight off. This effect is not seen after weight loss surgery.

Besides ridding oneself of excess weight, other reasons why people choose to undergo surgery can be to reduce the risk of life-threatening health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and sleep apnea. All these conditions may improve after weight loss surgery.

Finally, some people choose weight loss surgery to increase their mobility and to see children and grandchildren grow and be able to spend time with them. When surgery helps people live healthier lifestyles and reduce medical conditions, it brings them closer to all these goals.

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Who’s A Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?

While the medical and lifestyle benefits of weight loss surgery may seem numerous, this type of surgery isn’t always an option for everyone who is obese. You may need to meet specific medical criteria to qualify for surgery, and you’ll likely have to undergo a screening process.

According to the Mayo Clinic guidelines, weight loss surgery could be an option if:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher (severely obese)
  • Your BMI is 35 to 39.9 (obese), and you have a weight-related health condition like sleep apnea, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.
  • Your BMI is 30 to 34, and you have weight-related health conditions.

There are a number of online BMI calculators like the one offered by the Mayo Clinic or Smart BMI. Check with your physician to see if you are a candidate and to discuss the options best for you.

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Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

If you and your doctor decide that weight loss surgery is the right choice, your commitment to a permanent lifestyle change begins before surgery. The following are essential steps to prepare:

  • Quit smoking and stop using all tobacco and nicotine products, which can increase the risk of complications during and after weight loss surgery. If you use these products, ask your physician if he/she requires you to be tobacco or nicotine free for a specific amount of time before surgery.
  • Change your diet and focus on increasing protein, veggies, and fresh fruits. Start reducing or eliminating sugar and high-fat foods. Avoid eating if you are bored, tired, stressed, or in front of the TV or at your desk. Eat slowly and savor your food.
  • Track food and water intake to help identify areas for improvement.
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day and limit all other beverages like alcohol, soda, juice, and energy drinks.
  • Begin exercising. If you aren’t exercising, small increases in daily activity can make a big difference. Focus on frequency rather than intensity and build up exercise time by adding a few minutes more each day.
  • Commit to not gaining weight before surgery. Ask your surgeon about pre-surgery weight goals.

Also, focus on your emotional and mental health. Find ways to cope with emotional eating. Think about why you are ready to make lifestyle changes now, and what has stopped you in the past. It may be helpful to write your thoughts in a journal. Your doctor may also require that you attend counseling sessions, meet with dietitians, and participate in a support group in addition to pre-surgical preparation and post-surgical follow-up programs specific for your needs.

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What Happens After Surgery?

While you may experience significant medical benefits following weight loss surgery, you must be prepared to make permanent changes that support a healthier lifestyle. Weight loss surgery is not a miracle cure for obesity. Rather it’s a powerful tool on your journey to health that you will learn to use.

Weight loss surgery requires dedication and commitment to make the results long-lasting and to keep the pounds from coming back. Lifestyle changes begin before surgery with frequent, small healthy meals and exercising.

After surgery you can expect the following:

  • One to three day hospital stay.
  • Liquid diet with a slow transition back to solid foods.
  • Sensory changes to taste, smell, or tolerance to food. The most common changes are heightened sensitivity to sweet, sour, and fast food.
  • You may be asked to participate in follow-up activities that include keeping your provider updated about your nutrition, lifestyle, and medical conditions.

For more information, see articles on The Importance of Your Liquid Diet; Exercising, Nutrition and Vitamins; Keeping Up With Your Mental Health After Surgery.

What About the Cost of Surgery?

Be sure to check with your physician and insurance company to see if your healthcare policy covers weight loss surgery. In many cases, insurance covers the cost of surgery.

The actual and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending not only on the type of procedure you have but also on your location, the surgeon’s fees, and your policy. The hospital will also have costs for the anesthesiologist, the operating room, and your stay, among others.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases, the cost for weight loss surgery ranges from $20,000 to $25,000.

If you have health insurance, be sure to read your policy carefully to find out what’s covered and if your insurance company requires pre-authorization.

If you don’t have health insurance or anticipate paying some or all the bill yourself, there are companies that provide financing for medical expenses. You can check with your surgery center about loan options that you can repay over time.

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What Happens After Surgery?

At ProCare Health, we are dedicated to helping those who are preparing for weight loss surgery. While you consider your options for weight loss, try our product samples, read our helpful articles, or reach out to one of our knowledgeable team members. We are standing by ready to answer your questions.

After your surgery, we have a variety of affordable products to help you remain healthy. Our once daily vitamin is specially designed for people who have undergone bariatric surgery. Our multivitamin uses easy to absorb ingredients so you can be confident you are getting the absorption and nutrients needed to stay healthy. Contact us now and let us help you begin your journey!

Please note: the information contained within this article is in no way to be considered medical advice nor is it meant to replace your medical team’s recommendations. This article’s purpose is to educate and allow the reader to make informed decisions with the help of his or her medical team.