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Everyone seems to have a solution for losing excess body 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 achieve 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 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 surgeries, and the word  “bariatric” specifically describes anything related to treating 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 these surgical procedures, 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 bariatric surgery 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 metabolic and bariatric surgery is the fact that your procedure itself will not be the end of your weight loss journey. Weight loss surgery is only safe and fully effective if you’re willing to commit to some significant lifestyle changes afterward, 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 keep 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!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, aids weight loss by altering the digestive system. This can involve reducing the size of the stomach or implementing changes to limit food intake and fat absorption. It is considered when diet and exercise are ineffective or when excess weight causes serious health issues. Note that lifelong dietary changes and regular exercise are necessary for successful long-term outcomes.

What can you never eat again after a gastric bypass?

After gastric bypass surgery, certain foods and drinks should be permanently excluded from your diet to maintain health and weight loss progress. These include high-fat meats, sugary foods, alcohol, dry foods like granola and nuts, caffeinated and carbonated beverages, bread, rice, pasta, fibrous fruits and vegetables, and calorie-dense items like bacon, sausage, whole milk, and butter. Additionally, avoid large meals, eating quickly, skipping meals, and drinking sugary or alcoholic beverages. It's also recommended to avoid consuming fluids 30 minutes before or after eating.

Can you live a normal life after bariatric surgery?

Yes, you can indeed live a normal life after bariatric surgery. However, it's essential to understand that the surgery is not a cure for obesity, but a tool to aid in weight loss. The key to long-term success and leading a healthier, longer, and more fulfilling life post-surgery lies in your commitment to following dietary guidelines, maintaining regular exercise, and implementing necessary lifestyle changes. These modifications are crucial in ensuring the effectiveness of the surgery and preventing any potential complications.