Is Weight Loss Surgery Right For You?

Bariatric surgery is typically reserved for individuals who are morbidly obese and have not responded to other less invasive weight-loss therapies such as diet, exercise or medications.

You are considered morbidly obese and may be eligible for weight-loss surgery if you:

  1. Are more than 100 pounds over your ideal weight.
  2. Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater. BMI is a measurement of your weight in relation to your height. It is the most common measure of overweight and obesity.
  3. Have a BMI of 35 or greater with life-threatening conditions related to obesity, called co-morbidities. The most common co-morbidities associated with morbid obesity are type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), depression and infertility.

Making the Choice

Weight-loss surgery should not be considered until you and your doctor have evaluated all other options. You should make the decision to have weight-loss surgery only after careful consideration and consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon. 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 will, as part of routine evaluation for weight-loss surgery, require that you consult with a dietician or nutritionist, and a psychiatrist or therapist. This is to help you establish a clear understanding of the post-operative changes in behavior that are essential for long-term success.

To learn more about weight-loss surgery and whether it may be right for you, attend an upcoming informational meeting or support group.

For a listing of surgeons who perform weight-loss surgical procedures at Holy Cross Hospital and Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, call 301-754-8800.

How Effective Is Weight-Loss Surgery?
The actual weight a patient will lose after the procedure is dependent on several factors. These include:

  1. Patient's age
  2. Weight before surgery
  3. Overall condition of patient's health
  4. Surgical procedure
  5. Ability to exercise
  6. Commitment to maintaining dietary guidelines and other follow-up care
  7. Motivation of patient and cooperation of their family, friends and associates

In general, weight-loss surgery success is defined as achieving loss of 50 percent or more of excess body weight and maintaining that level for at least five years. Clinical studies show that, following weight-loss surgery, most patients lose weight rapidly and continue to do so until 18 to 24 months after the procedure. Weight-loss surgery also has been found to be effective in improving and controlling many obesity-related health conditions.

Complications and Risks of Bariatric Surgery
As with any surgery, there are operative and long-term complications and risks associated with weight-loss surgical procedures that should be discussed with your doctor. Possible risks include, but are not limited to, leaks from staple line breakdown, deep vein thrombosis, bleeding, complications due to anesthesia and medications, dehiscence, infections, marginal ulcers, spleen injury and stenosis.