What is Important to Know Before Considering Bariatric Surgery?
Patients who undergo bariatric surgery can have a more rewarding and successful experience if they know as much as possible before going in. Even before your consultation for this procedure, you should understand two things: first, candidates must fit certain criteria for bariatric surgery, and second, surgery is NOT the easy way out.
Who is a Candidate for Surgery?
Like every other type of surgery, bariatric surgery has specific qualifications. As basic qualifications, patients must be non-smokers who are at least 16 years of age. Patients must also have any current psychological or health comorbidities under control and monitored by a health care professional. Examples of common comorbidities for individuals with a higher body weight include eating disorders, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol.
Additionally, the ideal candidate has struggled with his or her weight for a long time. Because bariatric surgery is a major procedure, it should not be considered as the first step to resolving weight problems. Patients should have an established history of genuine attempts to lose and keep off a significant amount of weight. Most bariatric surgery patients have spent years working with various diets, exercise routines, and even other medical procedures without experiencing long-term weight loss success. For these individuals, bariatric surgery could be the solution to help them finally win the battle.
Lastly, candidates for bariatric surgery should have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 40. Patients who have a BMI greater than 35 with one major medical problem associated with their weight (such as those comorbidities listed above) may also qualify for surgery. Individuals with a lower BMI, especially a BMI under 30, will likely be better candidates for another weight loss approach. Dr. Metz will consider each patient on an individual basis and recommend the best procedure for you.
Surgery is NOT the “Easy Way Out”!
Food and diet are not the only factors that influence weight gain or weight loss. A combination of genetics, medical conditions, metabolism, and hormones all determine how difficult it is for an individual to control his or her body weight. Anyone who struggles with weight loss has faced challenges that may include feelings of inadequacy, poor self-esteem, becoming a social outcast, being ridiculed, and experiencing fat-shaming and abuse, to name just a few. Many have also wrestled with self-loathing because of their own futile efforts with attempted weight loss. Unfortunately, people around you may lack the empathy and understanding to recognize your plight. Your friends, peers, relatives, and even complete strangers may falsely claim that you are taking the “easy way out” by getting bariatric surgery.
Recognizing the challenges that you have already faced and all that is ahead of you, do not believe this discouraging misrepresentation. Bariatric surgery is most definitely NOT the easy way out! It requires a major surgery, recovery and healing, a lot of interaction with Dr. Metz and the other members of his team, personalized weight loss programs, active support from your family, and more. This does not even include the fact that your body will go through an unprecedented ordeal with the drastic diet and lifestyle changes that will become necessary. A LOT of work goes into bariatric surgery, but the rewards can be immeasurable. Patients who are determined to see their desired outcomes can realistically achieve long-term weight loss through bariatric surgery.