If people are more than 100 pounds overweight, the only proven method that delivers long term weight loss results is bariatric surgery. Diets often lead to the dreaded yo-yo effect, which means people lose weight only to put more back on. Surgery, by contrast, changes one or several parts of the digestive system, forcing your body to take in less calories.
Bariatric surgery comes from two Greek words, namely “baros”, meaning weight, and “iatrike”, meaning remedy or treatment. Bariatric, therefore, means treatment for weight. The procedure reduces the size of the stomach, stopping people from consuming as much food. Introduced in 1966, the surgery is now incredibly popular. In fact, at the last count in 2013, 179,000 surgeries had been performed that year alone in the United States. This makes it a very lucrative business as well.
Bariatric surgery can cost as much as $50,000. While insurance companies now often pay for at least some of this procedure, many people do still have to make a financial contribution themselves. Financing can also often be arranged. However, this is where the problem of it being a lucrative business comes in. It is vital that you find a surgeon that aims to improve your overall health and wellbeing, and not to line their own pockets.
Finding a Trustworthy Bariatric Surgeon
When you start to look for a bariatric surgeon, one of the main things to look for is their qualifications. They should have been fully trained in these procedures, as well as keeping their knowledge up to date through continuous education. The best surgeons are also registered with the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons. Additionally, the American College of Surgeons recommends that you only work with clinics where at least 125 procedures per year are performed.
Another way to tell whether the surgeon is any good is by finding out whether they will accept you as a patient. There are various eligibility criteria that they should stick to. This includes:
- You must have tried to lose weight yourself to no avail.
- You should be at least 80 pounds overweight.
- Your BMI should be at least 35, or you should have a comorbidity disorder.
- You should be over 18.
Good clinics also offer pre- and post-operative support groups. Some go so far as only accepting you as a patient if you attend the pre-operative support groups. This will provide you with important lifestyle education so that you can get the best results.
Your doctor is also responsible for fully explaining the procedure to you, and answering all the questions. After surgery, you should receive counseling from a nutritionist or dietician, as well as from a personal trainer. Follow up appointments with your surgeon should also be included. Last but not least, you should be able to attend counseling so that you can mentally prepare yourself for the changes ahead, and learn how to deal with them once they do start to manifest themselves.