Bariatric surgery is a major life-changing commitment that is an effective and safe method of weight loss for those who have a history of previous failed weight loss attempts. Therefore, surgery should not be considered as the first line of therapy. Patients must show extensive effort with diet, exercise, and other weight loss alternatives before considering bariatric surgery.
Although the procedure has major long-term benefits of reducing weight-related health problems (such as hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, and heart disease), it also carries procedural risks as any medical procedure does. To reduce operative risks, patients must undergo pre-operative testing to determine if they are candidates for the gastric lap-band.
Testing includes determining if the patient is physically fit for surgery, psychologically prepared for the commitment and compliance of therapy, as well as determining if the patient has proper social support. Recently there has been discussion of weight loss surgery improving chances of fertility as well; reproductive endocrinologists are referring patients for weight loss surgery as well.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is measured for all patients as well as evaluation and determination of possible comorbid health conditions. These conditions include:
After various physician supported attempts at losing weight, consult with your primary care physician to discuss if bariatric surgery is in your best interest, medically. Due to the fact that this is an elective procedure, your primary care provider must assure you that you are healthy enough for surgery. If the decision is made that this would be in the best interest of the patient from a health standpoint, a series of tests will be done to assure that the patient is qualified for surgery. This may include a cardiac evaluation, pulmonary evaluation, psychiatric evaluation, blood tests, and dietary consultation depending on the procedure and the patient’s prior medical history.
Tests to that you can expect prior to surgery can include the following:
Bariatric surgery is a major life-changing commitment, and the process can be emotionally and physically challenging. Talking with your close friends and family members will help you assure that you have their support and encouragement before initiating this process. Patients will benefit greatly from having the help and compassion of those closest to them to encourage diet compliance, and support of new lifestyle changes. Additionally, post-operatively, patients must have someone helping them physically, This process can lead to a much higher quality of life, but patients must have proper social support to guide them through this life changing process.
After establishing that you are healthy enough physically and mentally for surgery and that you have proper social support, consulting with a bariatric surgeon, such as Dr. Shillingford, is the next step. Your surgeon will educate you on all of the available procedure options. After discussing the risks and benefits of each procedure, together you will collaborate to decide which weight loss surgery best suites you.
Your bariatric consultation will give you the opportinuty to address all your questions and concerns before making a decision. Although Dr. Shillingford, who is a Florida Bariatric surgeon, will give you his medical opinion and recommendation, the decision to proceed with surgery is ultimately up to you as the patient.
After making the commitment to proceed with bariatric surgery, one of the most important steps is preparing for post-operative lifestyle change commitments . Patients will start a low calorie, higher protein, low carbohydrate diet to instill healthy eating habits before surgery. This is done because this is how the patient will be eating for the rest of his/her life. Pre-operatively is the best time to start making healthy food choices. Patients must also exercise regularly, because although bariatric surgery will show weight loss, results may plateau if the patient is not doing their part by exercising. These factors are crucial for the best results.