Weight loss surgery is a great option for many people carrying too many extra pounds. But surgery that makes changes to your digestive system should never be the first option you turn to.
Here, Dr. Nirav Naik at New Life Medical in Bakersfield, California, explains when you should consider the benefits of surgical weight loss procedures and what makes you a good candidate for bariatric surgery.
What’s wrong with fat?
Fat can be good. Your body uses fat to store energy, protect your vital organs, and insulate itself.
However, too much fat can be bad. As you gain weight and fat accumulates under your skin, you see a change in your body composition, which may prompt you to lose weight for cosmetic reasons. But it’s the fat you can’t see that causes health problems, such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and cancer
As fat builds up in your abdomen and around your heart and other organs, your body undergoes increased stress, and your cardiovascular system suffers. Fortunately, losing weight can reverse many of these problems.
When to consider weight loss surgery
Most people ask us how overweight they need to be before considering bariatric surgery. While your weight isn’t the only factor, it’s a good place to start.
Your BMI is too high
Your body mass index (BMI) gives us some valuable information about your weight compared to your height. You can plug in your numbers using our online BMI calculator. If your BMI is 30 or higher, you’re considered obese.
Dr. Naik generally considers you a candidate for bariatric surgery if your BMI is 40 or higher, or if it’s at least 35 and you have weight-related health issues.
Other weight loss efforts have failed
Bariatric surgery is for those who’ve tried to lose weight with diet and exercise but haven’t been successful. Dr. Naik talks with you at length about what you’ve tried and how your body responded.
Weight loss is complicated and different for every individual. Variables such as hormones, metabolism, coexisting health conditions, and medications play a role in your ability to lose weight, so you may simply need to make some adjustments that allow your body to release fat.
However, if you’ve tried traditional options with no success, you may be a good candidate for weight loss surgery.
You’re medically and mentally stable
Bariatric surgery, like any surgical procedure, stresses your body and your mind. Before performing any weight loss surgery, Dr. Naik makes sure you can withstand the procedure and assesses any psychological or behavioral disorders to determine if they will affect your ability to make the lifestyle changes necessary after surgery.
He also evaluates your medical condition. Cardiovascular disease, blood clotting disorders, liver disease, sleep apnea, and kidney disease can complicate your bariatric surgery.
You’re prepared to make some changes
Following bariatric surgery, you need to make some lifestyle changes for good. If you’re not ready, willing, and able to make those adjustments, you may not be a good candidate for weight loss surgery.
You can expect to follow a prescribed diet, get plenty of exercise, learn about healthy nutrition, stop smoking, take vitamins, and commit to a healthier lifestyle.
In the first six months after your surgery, you can lose up to 50% of your excess weight, and by the 12-month mark, you may see a 77% percent loss.
How weight loss surgery works
There are several different types of weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, and at New Life Medical, Dr. Naik offers the most advanced procedures available:
Each of these procedures works differently to either restrict the amount of food you can eat or shorten your digestive tract to limit calorie absorption.
It may take up to a year to see the final results, but your health improves steadily with each pound lost. Most of our patients report significant health benefits, such as:
- Remission of Type 2 diabetes
- Improved kidney function
- Lower cholesterol
- Better heart function
- Lower blood pressure
- Resolved sleep apnea
Have you struggled with obesity? To find out if weight loss surgery can help you finally shed excess fat and get healthy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Naik today by calling 661-230-8306.