Gastric Bypass Surgery: Who Is It For?
If you’re considering bariatric surgery, you’ve probably heard a lot about gastric bypass. It involves making surgical changes to your stomach and small intestine to limit the amount you can eat and reduce calorie absorption from your food.
Your ability to lose a substantial amount of weight – and keep it off over the long-term –increases dramatically after having gastric bypass surgery. Here’s how to tell if you should consider gastric bypass or any type of bariatric surgery.
Who Qualifies for Gastric Bypass?
Having major abdominal surgery is a life-changing event. It can reduce your risk or even cure obesity-related health problems, such as type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. But, like all surgical procedures, it also poses risks and complications. That’s why doctors take patient candidacy very seriously.
Here are the general guidelines to qualify for gastric bypass surgery:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher.
- Your BMI is 35 to 39.9, and you have serious health complications from obesity (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea).
- You’re a teen who has finished puberty, your BMI is 35 or higher, and you have obesity-related health problems.
- Your efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise alone have failed.
Getting a Professional Evaluation
Your bariatric surgeon will follow a screening process to make sure you qualify medically and psychologically. An evaluation also helps pinpoint whether gastric bypass is the best option, or if another weight loss surgery is preferable. The assessment includes:
- A medical screening: Gastric bypass is for people with obesity-related health issues, but some medical problems could disqualify you, such as severe lung disease, chronic pancreatitis and autoimmune connective tissue disease. Your doctor may also advise that you quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol before your procedure takes place.
- A psychological screening: Weight loss surgery requires substantial lifestyle changes, so you must be mentally prepared. You’ll be screened for food addiction, substance abuse, major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental health problems to ensure you’re psychologically fit for life-changing surgery.
Is Gastric Bypass Right for You?
Even if you meet the textbook guidelines to qualify for gastric bypass surgery, there are still more factors to consider:
- Have you tried a stricter diet and exercise program?
- Do you have insurance coverage or other means to pay for a medical procedure?
- Do you have realistic expectations for life after bariatric surgery?
- Are you willing to adopt a strict diet and exercise program after surgery to ensure your success?
If you think gastric bypass surgery may be right for you, learn more about this and other bariatric procedures on our website, and find more useful tips on our blog. Then, when you’re ready, please contact Garden State Bariatrics and Wellness Center in Millburn, NJ: (973) 218-1990 or Toms River, NJ: (732) 269-6800 to schedule your personal weight loss surgery consultation.