Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Surgery Candidates

Bariatric surgery is not doctors’ first choice for treating obesity. Not only is it a major surgery associated with serious risks, but people who have bariatric surgery have to make major changes in their lifestyles after recovering from surgery.

Nonetheless, for some, bariatric surgery is the most viable option for weight loss and improved health.

Good Candidates for Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery candidates are those who have explored other weight loss options without success. They have changed their diets, exercised and followed their doctors orders regarding weight loss and have still not been able to drop the necessary pounds.

To qualify as a candidate for bariatric surgery, you must generally:

  • be more than 100 pounds overweight
  • have been obese for at least five years
  • have no psychiatric disorders
  • have not been a drug or alcohol abuser
  • have a body mass index, or BMI, of over forty.

BMI is used to express a ratio of your height and your weight. In a healthy person, this ratio should be 25 or less. To qualify for bariatric surgery, people have to have a BMI of at least 35 and already be experiencing obesity-related health problems.

Good candidates for bariatric surgery have realistic expectations about their post surgery lives. They know that the surgery is not magic and that they will have to make changes in their eating habits and the way that they think about food. They must also:

  • avoid certain foods
  • eat a very healthy diet
  • eat small proportions
  • exercise regularly
  • understand that they will not immediately drop every pound that they want — the process takes time and work.

Getting Approved

You cannot jump into choosing bariatric surgery. It can sometimes take up to eight months to get approval to have this type of surgery, largely because of the multitude of tests and consultations that you must take. These tests can include:

  • a colonoscopy
  • an electrocardiogram
  • pulmonary function tests
  • a treadmill test.

You will also speak with healthcare professionals including a dietician, a heart specialist and a lung specialist. In some cases, doctors require bariatric surgery candidates to lose some weight before they are qualified to have the surgery.

Not everyone who wants to have bariatric surgery can get approval. However, if you do get approval and follow post-operative instructions regarding diet and exercise, you may finally loose the weight that you need to and experience a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Resources

Einstein Medical (2006). Maintaining your Figure after Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved April 18, 2008, from the DocShop.com Web site.

Hutcher, Neil M.D. (2007). Are You a Good Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery? Retrieved April 21, 2008, from the YourPlasticSurgeryGuide.com Web site.

Mayo Clinic (n.d.). Gastric Bypass Surgery: What Can You Expect? Retrieved April 18, 2008 from the Mayo Clinic Web site.

Mayo Clinic (n.d.). Obesity. Retrieved April 18, 2008, from the Mayo Clinic Web site.

Mayo Clinic (n.d.) Obesity Complications. Retrieved April 18, 2008, from the Mayo Clinic Web site.

Regents of the University of California (2008). Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved April 18, 2008, from the USCFHealth.org Web site.

Regents of the University of California (2008). Bariatric Surgery. Evaluations and Tests before Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved April 18, 2008, from the USCFHealth.org Web site.