ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?
It's always best to lose weight through a healthy diet
and regular physical activity. If you're among those who
have tried but can't lose weight on your own and your
excess weight is causing health problems, surgery may be
Weight-reduction surgery, known generally as bariatric
surgery, changes the anatomy of your digestive system to
limit the amount of food you can eat and digest. As a
result, surgery can provide long-term, consistent weight
loss if you're a proper candidate for this procedure.
According to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery,
its member surgeons performed 63,100 weight-loss
operations in the United States in 2002, up from 28,800
in 1999. Despite this surge in popularity, Bariatric
surgery isn't for everyone who is obese. It's a major
procedure, accompanied by significant and indefinite
lifestyle changes, risks and side effects.
When surgery may be an option
Generally, surgery for weight loss is reserved for
people who are severely overweight and who have health
problems as a result. According to guidelines developed
by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and
the North American Association for the Study of Obesity,
surgery for obesity may be considered if:
If you wonder whether weight-loss surgery may be an
option for you, calculate your BMI below and discuss the
results with your doctor. Consider your lifestyle and
decide if you've exhausted all efforts to lose weight
through diet and exercise. Finally, evaluate your
commitment to making lifestyle changes. If you do have
surgery, its success still depends on a lifelong
commitment to specific guidelines for diet and exercise.
If you meet these criteria for surgery, evaluation
typically continues with screening by a medical team
made up of an internist, a dietitian and a psychologist.
The medical team wants to make sure an undiagnosed
psychological condition such as depression or substance
abuse won't hinder your ability to commit to lifestyle
changes and to adjust to changes in body image. The "new
you" might improve your handling of some social
situations. In other cases, it might be a source of
tension, anxiety and depression.