Are You a Good Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?

Weight loss does not follow a one-size-fits-all approach and surgery may be the best option for some people. Are you one of them?

Obesity continues to be considered one of the more serious public heath issues in our country. According to the CDC, more than one-third (36.5 percent) of U.S. adults are considered obese. Being overweight is a major risk factor for life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease and obstructive sleep apnea. For many people suffering from obesity, the problem is hereditary and can’t be simply solved with healthy eating and regular exercise.

Many of those who suffer from morbid obesity may qualify for weight loss (bariatric) surgery — procedures that are performed on the stomach or intestines to promote weight loss.

However, it is important to note that not everyone is a good candidate for this surgery. To qualify, you have to be between 16 and 70 years old (with a few exceptions) and morbidly obese. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines morbid obesity as being 100 pounds or more above your ideal body weight, or having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater. You may also qualify if you have a BMI of 35 or greater and you also have certain pre-existing co-morbidities, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension or sleep apnea.

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If you are considering getting pregnant in the next 18 months to two years, bariatric surgery is not for you. The fast weight loss and nutritional deficiencies associated with the procedure make pregnancy very dangerous for both the mother and a developing fetus.

Although bariatric surgery has a solid long-term track record for helping morbidly obese individuals lose weight, there are no guarantees with any method of weight loss, even surgery. Patients need to be committed to a healthy lifestyle and make dietary changes for the rest of their lives to avoid obesity.

Make sure you discuss the potential risks of surgery with your surgeon so that you can make an informed decision about your choice. Most people lose weight for 18 to 24 months after surgery. Many patients start to regain some of their lost weight, but only few regain it all back. Some of the common side effects associated with weight loss surgery are nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, excessive sweating, increased gas and dizziness.

If you had any obesity-related medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, they should improve after weight loss surgery. During the first month after the surgery, you will only be able to consume small amounts of soft food and liquids. You will also discover that you will feel that your stomach feels fuller faster.

If you think that weight loss surgery isn’t right for you, you should consult with a dietitian. If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top dieticians in the world, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800–872–2273) or by visiting

By Ramin Zahed