When is it Time for Bariatric Surgery?

Making the decision to undergo weight loss surgery is a very big step to take. While these procedures have proven themselves time and again to be highly effective, most involve the permanent alteration of the body. With that in mind, those who are obese may find themselves asking how to tell when the time is right to consider this option.

Here are a few signs, courtesy of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, that can help people gauge if this type of procedure might be right for them:

• An excessively high BMI – In most cases, surgeons recommend bariatric surgery for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.
• A lower BMI with obesity-related health conditions – People with weight-related health concerns, such as diabetes, may find themselves candidates for procedures, such as a gastric bypass, if they have a BMI of 35 or higher.

Gastric bypass procedures and sleeve gastrostomies are generally only recommended in the above circumstances. People with BMIs of 35 or less and health-related concerns, however, may find themselves eligible for a different type of procedure. Gastric banding may be indicated in cases where obesity levels are not in the severe range.

While the above are general rules of thumb for those seeking gastric surgical procedures to promote weight loss, other factors should also generally go into play. Some surgeons prefer their patients also:

• Undergo counseling – Pre-surgical counseling is often highly recommended to ensure patients understand the full scope of the procedures, what to expect and the potential side effects that may crop up.
• Exhaust other methods – Many surgeons prefer their patients try exercise and health eating plans prior to moving forward with surgical procedures. Gastric bypasses, for example, are often seen as a last resort effort.

Obesity is connected with a number of serious illnesses and may even prove to be life-limiting. Those who are considering surgical options to lower weight are urged to discuss all their options directly with their healthcare providers.

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