Everyone seems to have a solution for losing excess weight these days, from fad diets to intense fitness routines designed to help you shed those unwanted pounds. Unfortunately, some people who are genuinely committed to losing weight still struggle to meet their goals, no matter how hard they work to do so. If this frustrating experience sounds familiar to you, you may consider bariatric surgery as a medical solution.
At Prima Care, endocrinologist Dr. Tamer Yacoub is proud to work together with St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center’s Dr. Matthew Lemaitre to help patients meet their weight loss goals. However, there are a few things every patient should know before making the decision to undergo bariatric surgery:
Bariatric Surgery Isn’t For Everyone
While weight loss surgery may seem like a miraculous solution to anyone who has struggled for a long time to be comfortable and confident in their weight, it’s important to think realistically, as you would before undergoing any type of surgery. You’ll need to discuss your eligibility with your doctor in order to determine whether or not the procedure is really right for you.
Generally speaking, the best candidates for bariatric surgery meet the following criteria:
- You’ve been unable to lose weight using less invasive methods
- Your BMI is 40 or greater
- Your BMI is 35 or greater, and you have a serious health issue impacted by your weight (such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes)
If this describes you, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to move forward and continue to discuss bariatric surgery with your primary care provider and your surgeon.
There Are Several Types of Bariatric Surgery
“Bariatric surgery” is a catch-all term for several types of weight loss surgery, and the word “bariatric” specifically describes anything related to the treatment of obesity. If you’re proceeding with bariatric surgery, you’ll have three primary options from which to choose:
- Laparoscopic gastric bypass: You’ve probably heard the term “gastric bypass” before. That’s because laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is the most standard bariatric procedure in the field, performed more than 250,000 times in the United States each year. During this procedure, your surgeon will create five to six small incisions in your abdomen, creating a small stomach pouch that will restrict your food intake and reduce the amount of calories your body absorbs from a meal.
- Sleeve gastrectomy: Unlike gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy involves actually removing a portion of your stomach to create a small “sleeve,” significantly reducing your appetite and restricting your food intake. Sleeve gastrectomy is usually performed on people who have a BMI (body mass index) of at least 40.
- Gastric banding: During a gastric banding procedure, your surgeon will place a band around the upper part of your stomach, creating a small pouch that limits how much food you can eat and suppresses your appetite.
Between your extensive discussions and a review of your medical history, your surgeon will help you determine which of these procedures is best to help you safely meet your personal goals.
You’ll Need to Make Some Lifestyle Changes
Another thing you must remember before opting for bariatric surgery is the fact that your procedure itself will not be the end of your weight loss journey. Bariatric surgery is only safe and fully effective if you’re willing to commit to some significant lifestyle changes aftward, including making dietary changes and sticking with a consistent exercise routine. This isn’t just about maintaining the weight loss made possible by your procedure -- adhering to these lifestyle changes is also important to keeping you healthy, minimizing some serious side-effects, and making sure that certain physiological elements of your surgery remain in place.
Your Surgeon Isn’t the Only One On Your Side
With all kinds of lifestyle changes and restrictions in place, life after bariatric surgery may seem overwhelming, but there’s good news around the corner. Your bariatric surgeon isn’t the only professional who’s there to provide you with the education, guidance and support you need to complete your weight loss journey after your procedure. Dr. Yacoub and Dr. Lemaitre work with a multidisciplinary staff that includes nurse practitioners, dietitians, and psychologists, all of whom will collaborate to develop a custom weight loss plan that’s designed to help you meet your unique goals, all while remaining safe and healthy.
Bariatric surgery is a huge step to take in your weight loss journey, and there are many factors to consider before taking it. But if you’re ready to stop feeling frustrated with weight loss and start feeling the way you’ve always wanted to, it’s time to reach out to the experienced, highly-qualified bariatric surgery and weight loss team here at Prima Care.
The team at Prima Care is passionate about providing you with the comprehensive, customized care you deserve. If you’re ready to start discussing bariatric surgery as a solution to your weight loss struggles, schedule an appointment online today!