Surgery for Weight Loss Criteria

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The surgery for weight loss today is more refined and safe. Many newer minimally invasive procedures have been developed which means less time to do the surgery, less risk of anesthesia, and no large incisions. Surgery is much superior to drugs when it comes to weight loss. However, not everyone can undergo weight loss surgery. Over the years, certain criteria have been developed to ensure both patient safety and decent results.

Many obese individuals have it rough and wish they could lose weight fast. Many would like to have surgery but often feel afraid (Who is not afraid of surgeons?). Complications of bariatric surgery are plentiful in cyberspace.

Candidate for bariatric surgery

The surgeons do agree that just looking at an obese patient is not adequate to determine his/her eligibility for weight loss surgery. The current guidelines in North America for selecting patients for weight loss surgery include the following:

Individuals who have failed to lose weight with drug therapy. The drug therapy should have been tried out for at least 3-6 months

Individuals who have failed to lose weight after enrolling in an intense exercise program of more than 12-month duration

Individuals who have a BMI in excess of 40 kg/m2

Individuals with a BMI between 35 and 40 kg/m2 and also have on or more comorbid conditions. This may be uncontrolled diabetes, arthritis, poor lifestyle, or bedridden.

Both Medicare and many medical insurance companies have even more stringent criteria for individuals who wish to undergo surgery. These include meeting the following requirement:

An individual with a bodyweight more than 100% above ideal body weight

Individual who has one or more obesity-related comorbidities including diabetes, hypertension, urinary incontinence, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, etc

Failure to  weight loss after undergoing a medically supervised weight loss program

These criteria are simply guidelines and the ultimate judgment on who can undergo weight loss surgery belongs to the surgeon. In each and every case, the individual is told about the potential for possible complications and the possible benefits. All individuals who attempt to undergo surgery for weight loss must be realistic, be able to comprehend what is at stake, and remain committed to an exercise program.

Of course, not everyone can undergo surgery. There are some individuals who should not undergo bariatric surgery. These include the following individuals

Those with mental health problems like a psychotic illness, e.g. schizophrenia

Those who have an active substance abuse problem

Those who have shown to be non-compliant with following instructions or taking their medications

Who have other psychiatric conditions, including borderline personality disorder

With uncontrolled depression which has been difficult to treat with drugs

who are at high risk of heart disease

Bariatric surgery is no piece of cake. While one can have the best surgeon, the patient must also play an important role in the process. Besides simply eating less and exercising more, one also needs to change one’s lifestyle. This means having to sacrifice friends, family, and a lot of food for weight loss.

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