The idea of surgery to help you lose weight can be a scary proposition. But sometimes surgery may be necessary to help you reach your goals, especially if you’re suffering serious health effects from excess weight. Weight-loss surgery—also called bariatric surgery—is a major decision for anyone, and it’s important to understand the risks and benefits so you can make an informed decision about whether or not procedure is right for you.
Here are five important things that I share with patients who come to me considering bariatric surgery:
- There are specific eligibility requirements for bariatric surgery. To be considered for weight-loss surgery, a patient must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35-40 along with a related health condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnea. Surgical options include laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and laparoscopic gastric bypass.
- Weight loss shouldn’t be the only goal. Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve or resolve many obesity-related conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Losing weight is important, but improving or resolving some of these medical conditions can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a healthier you. Losing weight will give you confidence to do physical activities or wear clothes you haven’t worn in years. One of the greatest rewards I get from performing this surgery is seeing my patients re-engage with life and get back into healthy activites.
- Learn as much as you can to reduce fear of the unknown. In working with many bariatric patients over the years, I’ve noticed that taking the first step can be extremely hard because they have no idea how the process works and don’t understand the surgical options. One of the best things you can do is attend an informational session and ask questions. South Shore Health System offers weight-loss surgery information sessions twice a month where you can meet with a surgeon, bariatric dietitian, and administrative professionals who understand how to work with your insurance company. Learn as much as you can by talking to people who understand the surgery and process inside and out.
- Bariatric surgery changes your relationship with food. What is fascinating about this surgery is that it really changes the way your body sees and processes food. Hormones that are associated with feeling hungry or feeling full are getting altered with either of the surgical options available. This fundamental change in metabolism is why surgery is so effective.
- You will need support over your lifetime. The most effective bariatric surgery programs offer guidance from a team of specialists for the rest of your life. This isn’t just a surgery where we fix your shoulder or your knee and send you on your way. The first few months after surgery are the most important, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need support further down the road. How you feel one year after surgery could be completely different than how you feel five or 10 years after surgery. You should choose a program that will offer life-long support services. And it’s important to remember that the changes you may feel over time are normal.
Attend Free Bariatric Info Session
Dr. Ghushe is the Medical Director the South Shore Hospital Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery which is offered in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Surgical Associates. If you are interested in weight-loss surgery, the first step is to attend an informational seminar. We offer them monthly in Weymouth and Kingston. At the seminar, our bariatric surgeons and others will explain the process and answer all of your questions. Visit our website to see a list of upcoming sessions and to register online.