‘bariatric weight loss surgery’

Weight Loss Surgery and You

Weight loss surgery can be an extremely effective weight loss option, but is it right for you?  Despite popular belief, just because you have one of the weight loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass, lap band, VSG or duodenal switch, it doesn’t guarantee weight loss.  Sure, it helps to lose weight, but doesn’t mean that you will.

What?  You pay all that money for the surgery and you don’t lose weight?  Read on, and you’ll learn the types of weight loss surgery, as well as if you are a good candidate for weight loss (also called bariatric) surgery.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery

There are four main categories of bariatric surgery, and they are as follows:

  • Laproscopic Band (also known as lap band)
  • Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (also known as VSG)
  • Gastric Bypass
  • Duodenal Switch

If you notice, I didn’t include liposuction, as it is more of a cosmetic surgery that isn’t suitable for the very obese.

Do You Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?

This first set of qualification is based on your physical status.  In general, candidates for bariatric surgery are as follows:

  • At least 100 pounds overweight.  Exceptions may be made for someone who has less than 100 pounds to lose, but has a condition that would be substantially lessened by weight loss (example – type 2 diabetes).
  • Have documented proof of trying and failing at a structured weight loss plan.  This could be anything from Weight Watchers to NutriSystem or Jenny Craig, up through a plan created by a physician or nutritionist.
  • At least 18 years old.
  • Be in otherwise good health, and able to handle the stress of the surgery and recovery period.

You will usually also have to pass a psychological evaluation, at least for the VSG, gastric bypass and duodenal switch.

Is Bariatric Surgery Reversible?

One thing you need to know is that while a revision surgery is available for the lap band surgery, the others pretty much don’t have a revision available.

A revision is the reversal of the weight loss surgery.  While in theory some of the others can be reversed, it’s very expensive and may not work.  And any surgery that actually removes parts of your digestive system can’t put it back.

Weight Loss Surgery Cost

So how much does weight loss surgery cost?  It’s not cheap, especially for the surgical procedures that require a hospital stay.

The weight loss surgery cost typically involves some form of weight loss surgery support.  Sometimes this is available with a one-on-one counselor; other times the support is in a group setting.  When you are interviewing surgeons, make sure you ask what kind of after surgery support is available.

If you’re wondering, some types of weight loss surgery can be paid for using medical insurance.  However, it needs to be authorized by your insurance policy, and not all policies will pay for it.

Are You Ready for Weight Loss Surgery?

I mentioned in the beginning that bariatric surgery is not a magic bullet, and just because you have it, it doesn’t mean that you will lose weight – or keep it off.

Bariatric surgery doesn’t give you a license to eat whatever you want, just in smaller quantities.  Depending on the surgery you choose, there will be foods that you will have to avoid for the rest of your life.  For example, gastric bypass surgery usually results in the body being unable to process sugar well; eat too much and your body will pay for it with some unpleasant symptoms.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, you need to commit to changing the way you eat.  Find out before your surgery what kind of changes you will need to make in your diet, and what kinds of supplements you will need to take.

Weight loss surgery can literally be a life saver, and it can help you to lose large amounts of weight in a short time.  Just be sure that you are willing to do what is necessary to keep the weight off, once you’ve lost it.

If you want to learn even more, you might want to check out the book Weight Loss Surgery For Dummies. It can help you explore the weight loss options when it comes to having the surgery.

Bariatric Diet: Can You Stomach It?

The bariatric diet is what you eat after undergoing weight loss surgery.  If you are considering bariatric surgery, it’s not a bad idea to try the diet before you opt for the surgery.

After all, if you can’t follow the diet after the surgery, why bother with the expense and the recovery time from the operation?

Bariatric Diet:  What You Can Eat

Once you undergo surgery (adjustable lap band, gastric bypass) there are foods that you very likely won’t be able to eat anymore without suffering some rather rough side effects called "dumping" (which is like what it sounds).  The most common trigger is sugar, followed by fats.

It’s not to say that you’ll never again be able to eat ice cream or a piece of cake; just that your portions will have to be very small (a half-scoop of ice cream, a bite or two of cake).  And some people find that they can’t tolerate even such small amounts!

Immediately after surgery you’ll be eating meals of soft, bland foods at first.  This will be followed by less soft and less bland as time goes on.

Get ready to eat small, frequent meals.  How small?  Sometimes just a few bites at a time, every couple of hours.  You’ll have to see how your body reacts and adjust accordingly.

The Dietitian:  Your New Best Friend

You’ll need to schedule some visits with a dietitian, to help set up an eating plan that will help you to lose weight, get plenty of nutrition and not cause adverse reactions from your body.

Get ready to take supplements, as your food intake will be much smaller — you won’t be able to get every nutrient by your diet alone (which is probably true for the rest of us anyway).  But in the case of a bariatric diet, you have to be extra-careful.

In fact, if you are seriously considering weight loss surgery, it might be wise to contact a dietitian familiar with bariatrics and try the diet for a few weeks before you schedule a visit to the surgeon.  Worst comes to worst and you find that you can’t "stomach" a bariatric diet, you’ll have saved yourself a lot of pain (surgery isn’t pain-free) and expense.

Want more information?  You can view information and a video on gastric bypass surgery, as well as more information about bariatric diets from the University of Rochester.