Is Surgery for me?
The first and most important step in deciding whether or not to have weight loss surgery is getting all the information you need about the various options available today. The decision to have a surgical weight loss procedure will take research and consultation with your physician to assure that your questions are answered and that you are an appropriate surgical candidate. The primary goal of weight loss surgery is to live better, healthier and longer.
After having the surgery, the operation will cause you to significantly alter your eating habits. You must also commit to taking vitamin supplements to avoid the life-long risk of developing nutritional deficiencies.
The National Institutes of Health uses the following the criteria to determine who can be a candidate for weight loss surgery. Insurance companies as well as Medicare and surgeons performing this procedure must adhere to these guidelines.
There are other unique criteria that each insurance carrier places into policies that ultimately determines who gets coverage. The Center will work with you to determine what your particular plan requires. The above list is meant to give you guidance if you can even consider having surgery done.
Weight loss surgery is major surgery. Although most patients enjoy an improvement in obesity-related health conditions (such as mobility, self-image and self-esteem) after the successful results of weight loss surgery, these results should not be the overriding motivation for having the procedure.
That is why you should make the decision to have weight loss surgery only after careful consideration and consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon or a knowledgeable family physician. A qualified surgeon should answer your questions clearly and explain the exact details of the procedure, the extent of the recovery period and the reality of the follow-up care that will be required. They may, as part of routine evaluation for weight loss surgery, require that you consult with a dietician/nutritionist and a psychiatrist/therapist. This is to help establish a clear understanding of the post-operative changes in behavior that are essential for long-term success.
It is important to remember that there are no ironclad guarantees in any kind of medicine or surgery. There can be unexpected outcomes in even the simplest procedures. What can be said, however, is that weight loss surgery will only succeed when the patient makes a lifelong commitment. Some of the challenges facing a person after weight loss surgery can be unexpected. Lifestyle changes can strain relationships within families and between married couples. To help patients achieve their goals and deal with the changes surgery and weight loss can bring, most bariatric surgeons offer follow-up care that includes support groups, dieticians and other forms of continuing education.
Ultimately, the decision to have the procedure is entirely up to you. After having heard all the information, you must decide if the benefits outweigh the side effects and potential complications. This surgery is only a tool. Your ultimate success depends on strict adherence to the recommended dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes.
|© Copyright 2009 The Health Alliance. All Rights Reserved. Updated 05/26/2009|