The decision to have bariatric weight loss surgery is a big one, and it’s important that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Not everyone is a candidate for bariatric surgery, so it’s important to understand the health benefits and risks associated with it.
The team at Atlanta Bariatrics is here to answer all your questions and help you decide if bariatric surgery is right for you.
To qualify for bariatric surgery, you must meet the following criteria:
If your BMI is 30-39, you may qualify for surgery if you have weight related medical conditions. These include, among others:
If your BMI is less than 30, you probably do not qualify for weight loss surgery. Medical weight loss options which include diet and exercise are probably most appropriate for you – talk to your doctor for advice.
If your BMI is 40 or greater, you may qualify for surgery without necessarily having any of the medical complications listed above.
Unsure of your BMI? Use our BMI calculator below:
Before deciding whether or not you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, your surgeon will conduct a comprehensive medical evaluation that may include blood tests, EKG, or barium upper GI x-ray.
If you’re a candidate for surgery and you are ready to make a life-long commitment to change your habits, weight loss surgery may be an option for you.
The health benefits of losing weight are countless. Most patients will lose between 50-70% of their excess weight. The exact amount of weight that is lost will depend on compliance with dietary and exercise guidelines after surgery and follow-up in the program. The time over which the weight loss occurs depends on the procedure that is chosen. The risks of many of the serious diseases associated with obesity decline dramatically as weight loss occurs and many conditions can be reversed. Many of the medications required for the diseases can be stopped or the dosages lowered.
In many of the conditions such as diabetes, there is no medical intervention that can achieve the profound effects obtained from bariatric surgery. In addition, quality of life is improved. Patients often remark how they are now able to do things that non-obese individuals may look at as trivial. Long-term maintenance of weight loss has been documented in dozens of studies with follow-up as long as fifteen years out from surgery.
Some medical conditions that greatly improve after surgery include:
Other conditions which have been shown to greatly improve after surgery include asthma, stress urinary incontinence, polycystic ovary syndrome, and many others. Many of the conditions improve as quickly as a few months after surgery.
Some insurance plans now understand the medical necessity of weight-loss surgery and will give approval. However, each insurance carrier has its own idiosyncrasies. Our staff can help guide you through the insurance maze. For those patients for whom insurance does not cover obesity surgery, our office can provide you with information on other payment methods.
No. Although patients feel much better about their appearance after weight loss, the purpose of surgery is to become healthier. Weight loss surgery may alleviate or help the patient avoid weight-related diseases. From an insurance standpoint, the surgery is definitely not cosmetic.
Yes. There are multiple reasons to stop smoking before bariatric surgery. Patients overall will have fewer complications if they no longer smoke. Smoking damages the lungs and this can lead to higher anesthetic risks and pneumonias following surgery. It takes about a month for the lungs to recover – so stop now! In addition, weight loss surgery is about improving your health. Smoking directly contradicts this goal.
We strongly advise against becoming pregnant during the first 1-2 years following surgery. The reason is there is real potential for the fetus to suffer from poor nutritional intake during the weight-loss period. If a pregnancy was to occur during the initial weight loss period, the mother would have to take in high nutritional requirements to protect the baby. The mother will then typically not lose further weight during pregnancy and often will not lose any further weight after delivery. She will therefore miss the benefits of weight loss surgery.
This is particularly important for patients undergoing a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy procedure. This is why we strongly recommend waiting until after the initial weight loss period, typically the first year after surgery.
It is important to note that women can actually become more fertile as they experience weight loss. Fat produces estrogen which can cause hormonal imbalances and even infertility. As you lose weight, your hormone levels can become more regular and leave you with an increased chance of becoming pregnant! Please take precautions and talk with your gynecologist about contraception techniques to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
After your weight loss is over (usually 1 year after surgery), pregnancy is safe following bariatric surgery. Many of our patients have gone on to have routine pregnancies, deliveries, and very healthy babies.
At Atlanta Bariatrics, we want it to be as easy as possible to get started on your journey toward meeting your weight loss goals. Just use our simple scheduling tool to request your initial consultation. Our office staff will work with you to make sure you get the care and support that you need.