What is Obesity Surgery?
Gastric bypass and Gastric Sleeve surgery are the most common types of weight-loss surgery. Gastric bypass, Gastric Sleeve and other types of weight-loss surgery, collectively known as bariatric surgery, make surgical changes to your stomach and digestive system that limit how much food you can eat and how many nutrients you absorb, leading to weight loss.
While that may sound appealing, gastric bypass and Gastric Sleeve surgery isn’t for everyone. Like any major procedure, it has significant health risks and side effects. In addition, the long-term success of a gastric bypass or sleeve surgery depends on your ability to make permanent changes in your lifestyle. When you want to be considered for bariatric surgery, you must undergo an evaluation to determine if it’s suitable for your situation. We determine this by the information that you submit through our online pre-operative application form which is basically a way for us to review your suitability based on your medical history.
Guidelines to qualify for gastric bypass surgery
In general, gastric bypass or another weight-loss surgery could be an option for you if:
- Efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher
- Your BMI is 30 or more and you have a serious weight-related health problem, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or severe sleep apnea
- You’re a teenager who’s gone through puberty, your BMI is 30 or more, and you have serious obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea.
Evaluating if you’re ready for gastric bypass surgery
Even if you meet these general guidelines, in certain rare circumstances you still may need to meet other medical guidelines to qualify for weight-loss surgery. You likely will have an extensive screening process to see if you qualify.
A team of health professionals — usually including a dietitian and surgeon — evaluate whether gastric bypass, gastric sleeve or one of the other forms of weight-loss surgery is appropriate for you. This evaluation generally determines if you’re medically ready to undergo the procedure.
When conducting an evaluation for gastric bypass surgery, the health care team considers:
- Your nutrition and weight history. The team reviews your weight trends, diet attempts, eating habits, exercise regimen, stress level, time constraints, motivation and other factors.
- Your medical condition. Some health problems increase the risks associated with having surgery or may be worsened by surgery, such as blood clots, liver disease, heart problems, kidney stones and nutritional deficiencies. The team evaluates what medications you take, how much alcohol you drink and whether you smoke. You will be evaluated for sleep apnea and receive a thorough physical exam and laboratory testing. The results of these tests and exams may help determine eligibility for weight-loss surgery.
- Your psychological status. Certain mental health conditions may contribute to obesity or make it more difficult for you to maintain the health benefits of gastric bypass surgery. These may include binge-eating disorder, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, major depression, schizophrenia, severe bipolar disorder and issues related to childhood sexual abuse.
While these conditions may not prevent you from having weight loss surgery, Dr Dillemans may want to postpone surgery to ensure that any condition or significant sources of stress are appropriately treated and managed.
- Your motivation. The team will also assess your willingness and ability to follow through with recommendations made by your health care team and to carry out prescribed changes in your diet and exercise routine.
- Your age. There’s no specific age limit for gastric bypass surgery, but, until recently, the procedure was considered too risky for teenagers and older adults. Newer studies have found gastric bypass surgery can be safe and effective for adults ages 60 and older. The procedure is also now considered an option for some teenagers with a BMI of 30 or more and serious obesity-related health problems.