Weight loss surgery can deliver amazing results. It can be the loss of 60%-80% of your excess weight in the first two years.
Unfortunately, 15%-35% of bariatric surgery patients fail to reach their weight loss goal after surgery.
That’s what you don’t want.
What you do want is to lose the excess weight fast, and for life!
To be successful with bariatric surgery, it helps to remember ten factors. Make sure all of them are present if you hope to enjoy the most successful procedure and the longest-lasting weight loss!
1. You Are an Excellent Candidate for Surgery
You are considered suitable for weight loss surgery when you have reached a body mass index (BMI) score of 40 or more. At this point you are considered to be morbidly obese. In some cases, a bariatric surgeon will clear you for surgery if your BMI is in the 35 or higher range and one or more associated conditions are present, like type 2 diabetes.
2. You Are Generally Healthy
The first step in undergoing weight loss surgery is to schedule a consultation with a qualified bariatric surgeon. One of the primary reasons for requiring the consultation is so that you can be assessed for proper health. The surgeon will examine your previous and current medical history. It is to determine if weight loss surgery is safe enough given your medical profile.
Having a previous history of abdominal surgery or hypertension (high blood pressure), for example, may hinder your weight loss surgery results, and so many surgeons will turn you away for surgery based on these facts.
However, just because you are experiencing another ailment on top of obesity does not automatically bar you from weight loss surgery. Obesity often brings with it a host of comorbid (associated) ailments like hypertension, 2 diabetes, and osteoarthritis.
What is interesting is that having weight loss surgery can help with these associated conditions. In some cases, comorbid conditions can disappear entirely soon after undergoing bariatric surgery. That includes being able to toss out any medication you were taking for those conditions.
The point is, never try to self-assess your health, especially using the internet. It never works out well. Schedule a consultation with a bariatric surgeon. Have your health assessed by a trained professional prior to opting for surgery.
3. You Have No Mental-Health Concerns
Another important aspect of an initial consultation with a qualified surgeon is so that you can be assessed psychologically as well as physically. Around 23% of those seeking or undergoing weight loss surgery are found to be suffering from some type of behavioral health problem, such as depression and anxiety, or even binge eating disorders.
If you suspect that weight loss surgery will help your psychological issues or cure them entirely, you will become upset to learn that often isn’t the case. In fact, undergoing a procedure like the permanent gastric sleeve or even temporary gastric balloon can stir up a wide range of emotional responses. Losing significant amounts of weight, for instance, might make you feel in some strange way like you are losing an important part of yourself. Turning to healthier eating habits might make you feel deprived. It will force you to crave rebelling on your diet with a cheat day, or several.
You may feel uncomfortable being the center of attention on account of your significant weight loss, even if the attention is from friends and family, and is backed by love.
If you are one to turn to alcohol to soothe your mind and body, you may find that bariatric surgery causes your body to react differently to alcohol than before, putting you at greater risk while drinking.
A bariatric surgeon can put you in contact with psychologists or psychotherapists. They can help you heal mentally before tackling your physical health with lifelong surgery-assisted weight loss.
4. You Practice Healthy Living Habits
The best bariatric surgeon for you is going to ensure you are following healthy eating habits before wheeling you into surgery. That is because eating healthily and exercising regularly are associated with the longest weight loss surgical outcomes!
If your habits are a little less than healthy (and even if that’s putting it mildly), there is still hope. You could still be cleared for surgery. You may only need a little practice in the eating and moving departments first.
During your consultation, you may find that the surgeon recommends six months of a restricted dietary program along with a regular exercise regimen. Consider any tips and guidelines the surgeon gives you as introductions to the bariatric surgery lifestyle.
This time does not have to be filled with drudgery, so never dread the healthy living aspect of weight loss surgery. Embrace it and you will have a much better time, superior outcomes, and you’ll see that eating right and moving regularly can be lots of fun!
Your surgeon is sure to give you a series of tips as part of this program that include quitting smoking (or other tobacco and nicotine products), and eating regular and healthy meals, such as three solid meals with two sensible snacks each day. Your surgeon may recommend that you stop eating four hours before bed, and that you always eat breakfast. Whether or not one should skip the first meal of the day seems to be a question on many bariatric patients’ minds.
Your program will likely include food and water tracking, with you striving to drink around 64 ounces of water per day. You will be advised to avoid sugary and overly fizzy drinks, as well as alcohol and caffeine. When consuming meals, food should be consumed separately with a 30-minute gap between eating and drinking.
By giving you this Bariatric Surgery Lifestyle Plan, your surgeon is preparing you for surgery. However, he will also give you the tools to change your relationship with food. It is best to think of the foods we eat as fuel for our bodies, so your surgeon will advise you to pay attention to the foods you eat, and how your body reacts to them. Pay attention before meals, during, and after to really feel the difference between mildly hungry, starving, overfly full, and properly satiated.
That is the eating aspect of the lifestyle. For the exercise part, start small if you are unused to moderate or even light activity. Try to create a consistent physical activity plan like walking or doing pushups and body squats first thing when getting out of bed (even if you have to do the pushups on your knees at first). Gradually build up your time exercising by adding a few minutes of activity every single day.
You say that losing the excess weight is important to you. Are you willing to back it up by living healthily? Bariatric Patients that follow a healthy lifestyle tend to have higher chances of meeting their weight loss surgery goals.
5. You Are Motivated to Lose Weight
Research shows that a motivation to lose weight is critical to long-term weight loss following bariatric surgery. Seeking out a surgeon is not enough to prove your motivation to shed the excess pounds. Instead, your surgeon should see that you are willing to change no matter what. In medical circles, this motivation is referred to as having high levels of readiness to change or RTC. Having it means that you are willing to follow all of your bariatric surgeon’s suggestions, and not just in the realm of healthier eating and regular exercise. Also included are listening to your surgeon when advised to seek follow-up care in six months following surgery, for example, and telling your surgeon the moment weight loss has stalled or you experience complications. This regular communication with your surgeon and willingness to follow your doctor’s guidance are key to lifelong weight loss with bariatric surgery.
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6. You Have Gathered A Sound Support System
Making a lifelong change like defeating obesity requires you to be strong and resilient, but you’re not a superhero. You should expect to waver at times, which is why a good support system becomes necessary.
A friend, family member, parent, counselor, or anyone else who can provide emotional support will help you achieve your weight loss goals by showing you that you are not alone in your struggle to be healthy.
Some patients seek out weight loss surgery support groups. You can share ideas with likeminded people going through the same experiences there. A good bariatric surgeon can put you in touch with one or more support groups in your area, as well as put you into contact with counselors, nutritionists, and fitness experts. With help like that, you are going to succeed on your weight loss journey.
7. You Have the Best Bariatric (Weight Loss Surgeon)
Most weight loss surgeons today use minimally-invasive procedures. One of the procedures is the sleeve gastrectomy, which the surgeon performs using tiny incisions and a laparoscopic camera. These types of surgeries come with low complication rates and high susceptibility for positive long-term outcomes.
And while many weight loss surgeons offer bariatric surgery, you will still want to do your due diligence. The best bariatric surgeon for you has a long track record of helping patients like you achieve a healthier weight. You should be able to find a collection of positive online reviews describing the surgeon’s bedside manner and weight loss surgical technique. Most of all, there should be lots of testimonials from satisfied patients who hail the doctor as skilled and able to achieve the intended results.
Following those methods will help you find a qualified surgeon. However, how do you know if the surgeon is right for you, specifically? The best way is to schedule a consultation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many bariatric surgeons, such as Dr. Moeinolmlolki of Healthy Life Bariatrics in Los Angeles, are offering virtual consultations. These video based chats can help to determine if you mesh with the surgeon in question before making a visit to the surgical center for a full physical and psychological assessment. Make sure you do your homework in finding a doctor, however. Your choice of weight loss surgeon is one of the most important decisions to make if you hope for the best and longest-lasting bariatric outcomes.
8. Your Surgeon is Using the Best Bariatric Surgical Technique
Bariatric surgery has come a long way since it was first introduced to patients in 1950. Back then, open gastric bypass was the surgery dujour. Then came the gastric band in the 70s, duodenal switch in the 80s, open sleeve gastrectomy in the late nineties before the lap-band became popular at the turn of the century. Today, the laparoscopic gastric sleeve and gastric balloons are the most common weight loss surgeries. They have the highest chances of positive outcomes (along with low complication rates).
The reason we have gone through so many different kinds of procedures is that medicine has improved, and so has our knowledge of how the body works. Back in the fifties and sixties, and even in the nineties, bariatric surgeons had no idea that procedures like the open gastric bypass and lap-band are associated with complications, some of them serious.
Make sure the surgeon you opt for has experience with an FDA-approved and commonly accepted weight loss surgical procedure. The gastric sleeve and gastric balloon are two examples. Your surgeon should be able to perform those surgeries and have case studies to back up their credibility. Don’t be afraid to ask for before and after cases where the surgery in question worked for patients before you. Asking pertinent questions and vetting your surgeon carefully on the procedure in question can protect your health. It will ensure the highest chances of success following weight loss surgery.
9. You’re Willing to Seek Follow-Up Bariatric Surgery Care
Your obligation as a weight loss surgery patient does not end when you wake up from surgery. That moment is instead when you need to do the most work. After surgery is when you have to watch out the most for any complications so that you can relay them to your surgeon. You need to keep up with your after-care appointments so that your bariatric surgeon can remove your drains, asses your gastric stapling, and ask you about your progress.
As you will learn by the surgeon during your initial consultation, the success of any bariatric surgical procedure is unknown at the time of your discharge. Weight loss following surgery generally occurs over a 12 to 18-month period. Follow up care with your surgeon will help to maximize your success during this time because adjustments can be made, just in case your weight loss stalls at any stage during your recovery.
As for how many follow ups are needed, many surgeons require four to six after-care appointments following bariatrics during the first post-surgical year.
10. A State-of-the-Art Bariatric Surgery Center
All surgeries come with risks. Minimally invasive surgery like bariatrics is no different. You can minimize risks for things like infections or excessive bleeding by asking about the surgical center during your initial consultation. The best weight loss surgeon will use a state-of-the-art bariatrics facility that follows all federal and local safety and sanitation guidelines. Do not be afraid to ask during the consultation about the type of surgical center your doctor will be using. Or ask if the weight loss surgery will be conducted in a hospital setting. This detail is critical to know, so that you know your surgeon has access to the best weight loss surgical equipment, and follows the necessary safety protocols to protect your health before, during, and after surgery.
You now have a handy checklist you can use to ensure you have the most positive weight loss surgery outcome. You want to lose the excess weight for life. By ensuring you are a good candidate for surgery, and by opting for the best procedure, most qualified doctor, and safest surgical center, you are sure to reach your weight goals with bariatric surgery.
Discover if Weight Loss Surgery is Right for You!
Looking to lose the excess weight? If you have a BMI over 35 with one or more associated health conditions, or 40 and above, which is considered morbidly obese, schedule a virtual consultation with Dr. Moeinolmolki at Healthy Life Bariatrics, and ask about our new cutting-edge surgical center in sunny and beautiful Los Angeles, California. Dr. Moeinolmolki can help you shed the excess weight safely and for life. Call (310) 694-4486 to learn more.