Is Metabolic Surgery Right for You?

David Podkameni, MD, is a general surgeon and Medical Director of the Weight Loss Center at Banner Gateway Medical Center.

Question:  I am considering weight loss surgery. How do I know if I am a candidate for this type of surgery?

Answer:  Metabolic surgery, including Bariatric or “weight loss” surgery, is a serious step to weight loss and is usually done only after diet and exercise programs fail. Candidates for Bariatric surgery must be morbidly obese, which means:

  • More than 100 lbs. over ideal body weight
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40
  • A BMI of over 35 and have one or more serious health conditions related to morbid obesity, including Type 2 diabetes
  • Inability to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting

After surgery, most patients are able to stop taking some or all of their medications for diseases such as Diabetes Type 2, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gastric reflux (persistent heartburn). Many patients with sleep apnea (pauses breathing during sleep) are able to breathe normally during sleep as a direct result of weight loss after surgery.

Different types of surgical procedures are used to change the stomach and small intestine in ways that reduce hunger and promote weight loss. Some surgeries reduce the size of the stomach so patients feel full quickly and learn to eat less to feel satisfied. Other types of surgeries reduce the amount of calories the body can absorb.

You should speak to an experienced Bariatric surgeon who can help you determine the best surgical procedure for your needs.  It is important to understand the benefits and risks of surgery, along with the resulting lifestyle changes.

By committing to extensive lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, Bariatric surgery patients can achieve weight loss goals and maintain their new weight for a lifetime. In addition, medical evidence suggests surgery can prolong the lives of obese patients who are more than 100 pounds overweight or have Type 2 diabetes or another obesity related medical condition.

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