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When to consider weight-loss surgery

It’s a big decision, but bariatric surgery could be your best option.

Article Author: Beth Stambaugh

Article Date:

bariatric surgery qualifications: close up of a scale

When it comes to preventable deaths in the United States, obesity is the second-leading cause (behind tobacco use), according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In fact, roughly 300,000 Americans die each year due to obesity. On average, an obese person can lose five to 10 years of life.

While there are different methods for conquering morbid obesity, weight-loss surgery (also called bariatric surgery) is the most effective solution, according to the NIH.

Having surgery is a big decision that requires research to understand the risks and benefits.

So, when is it time to consider weight-loss surgery? Here are a few signs.

Top 4 bariatric surgery qualifications

1. You are morbidly obese.

Weight-loss surgery isn’t for people who want to lose “20 or so” pounds. The NIH has outlined the criteria for the ideal bariatric surgery patient:

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or
  • A BMI greater than 35 with a chronic health condition. You can check your BMI with our BMI calculator.

In addition to BMI, your surgeon will evaluate your medical history, perform a physical and psychological exam and review tests to ensure you're a safe candidate for surgery.

2. You’ve tried to lose weight before without success.

If you haven’t been successful losing weight through behavioral changes or medical treatment, surgery may be an option for you. Most surgeons require that you have attempted to lose weight for at least six months before having surgery. Dieting is successful for only 5% of morbidly obese people and medical treatments can be expensive and sometimes have negative side effects.

3. You have a weight-related serious health issue.

Weight-related conditions could include type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol or sleep apnea.

4. You are committed to a long-term lifestyle change.

Bariatric surgery is only a tool for weight loss; a strict diet and exercise regimen must be followed for optimal weight loss.

How is bariatric surgery performed?

Bariatric surgery is routinely done with a minimally invasive technique, whether laparoscopic or robotic, said Craig Morgenthal, MD, FACS, a bariatric surgeon with North Florida Surgeons and medical director of the Baptist Health Center for Bariatric and Reflux Surgery.

“When minimally invasive surgery is combined with our enhanced recovery processes, patients recover quickly, typically go home after an overnight stay and can return to work in one to two weeks,” said Dr. Morgenthal. “We have extensive preoperative and postoperative support with our bariatric coordinators, surgeons, dietitians and psychologists. Many of the support visits can now be performed virtually.”

Is Baptist Health the right choice for weight-loss surgery?

The Baptist Health Center for Bariatric and Reflux Surgery is nationally accredited through a joint program by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Surgeons most commonly perform gastric bypasses and sleeve gastrectomies, and help patients who are considering other weight loss surgery options or are having issues with GERD.

Learn more about bariatric surgery qualifications

For more information, view a free webinar or to see if you qualify for bariatric surgery, visit baptistbariatrics.com.

Request a consultation

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