4 Reasons Why Every Patient Needs a UGI Before Bariatric Surgery

While most individuals who undergo bariatric surgery are motivated by their desire for weight loss, many have other health concerns as well. Individuals with a BMI of 30 or higher have a greater risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancers, among other health threats. Many already have some of these conditions at the time they look for a bariatric surgeon. Maximizing the potential for healthy weight loss while minimizing health risks and hazards should be the goal of every bariatric surgeon.


One excellent way to assess gastric health is to undergo an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) exam before bariatric surgery. This non-invasive, painless X-ray evaluates the upper GI tract to determine if there are any health threats or concerns that should be addressed. Here are four reasons why every patient needs a UGI before weight loss surgery.

1. You Could Have Existing Health Problems You Don’t Know About

A UGI endoscopy can detect a wide range of problems. Most often, UGIs reveal ulcers, inflammation, infections, GERD (reflux), and hernias. However, UGIs are also capable of detecting certain gastrointestinal diseases and even gastric cancer. Even individuals who have no unusual symptoms can have these health conditions: one study found that 80 percent of bariatric surgery candidates who had no important symptoms still had gastric problems. A UGI screening can identify whether your body is healthy enough for bariatric surgery.

2. You Might Need Additional Treatments

If the results of your UGI suggest a problem with your upper GI tract, your bariatric surgeon will help you correct it before your surgery. Even if the problem isn’t life threatening, it should still be addressed. As an example, one study showed that among patients who had H. pylori infection (discovered with UGI screening), getting treatment before bariatric surgery made them less likely to experience marginal ulcers afterward.

3. Your Bariatric Surgeon Needs to Know the Best Way to Care for You

Your bariatric surgeon does not want to take unnecessary chances with your health, which is one of the reasons a UGI is strongly recommended. The results of a UGI might mean delaying surgery so you can receive treatment for an existing condition. They also might mean adjusting the surgical technique. Vital information from a UGI may strongly favor one bariatric surgery approach over the others. With a UGI, you will receive the treatment that will ensure the best possible outcomes for you.

4. Bariatric Surgery Significant Affects the Digestive System

Bariatric surgery makes significant adjustments to the body’s digestive tract to help make major weight loss possible. These changes should only be done if the digestive system is healthy enough. Undergoing a UGI to assess your gastric health provides essential information that can protect your digestive system and long-term digestive health.

With the start of the new year, board-certified bariatric surgeon Dr. Matthew Metz is offering a free UGI and consultation special for new patients. Take advantage of this opportunity to improve your health by scheduling your consultation anytime between now and March 2019.

Call (720) 851-1610 or contact us online to request your consultation now.