Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries are major, life-changing procedures. While weight-loss surgery can help reduce your risk of weight-related health problems — such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea — it can also pose major risks and complications. You may need to meet certain medical guidelines to qualify for weight-loss surgery. In most cases, there will be an extensive screening process to see if you qualify.
In general, gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgery could be an option for you if:
- Efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful.
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher (extreme obesity).
- Your BMI is 35 to 39.9 (obesity), and you have a serious weight-related health problem, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or severe sleep apnea.
Even if you meet these general guidelines, you still may need to meet certain other medical guidelines to qualify for weight-loss surgery. A team of health professionals — usually including a doctor, dietitian, psychologist, and surgeon — evaluate whether gastric bypass or one of the other forms of weight-loss surgery is appropriate for you. This evaluation generally determines if the health benefits of the surgery outweigh the potentially serious risks. The evaluation also determines if you’re psychologically and medically ready to undergo the procedure.
When conducting an evaluation for gastric bypass surgery, the health team considers:
- nutrition and weight history
- medical condition
- psychological status
If you’re approved for gastric bypass surgery, your health care team gives you instructions about how to prepare in the months or weeks before the surgery. These instructions may include restrictions on eating and drinking, undergoing lifestyle counseling to help you cope with big changes in diet and exercise, quitting smoking, and starting a supervised physical activity or exercise program. In some cases, you may be required to lose weight before having gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric bypass surgery isn’t a miracle procedure — and it isn’t for everyone. Having gastric bypass or other weight-loss surgery doesn’t guarantee that you’ll lose all your excess weight or that you’ll keep it off over the long term; nor is it a way to avoid making changes in your diet and exercise habits.
If you are considering bariatric surgery, contact Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can help you determine if it’s the right choice for you.