Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
*What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a procedure designed to make the stomach smaller so the patient feels satisfied with less food. It is intended for people who are 100 pounds or more overweight (with a Body Mass Index of 40 or greater) and who have not had success with other weight loss therapies such as diet, exercise, medications, etc. A person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater and one or more co-morbid conditions also may qualify for bariatric surgery.
*What is morbid obesity?
Morbid obesity is a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more, which is roughly equal to 100 pounds or more over ideal body weight. The disease of morbid obesity interferes with basic physical functions such as breathing or walking. Long-term effects of the disease include shorter life expectancy, serious health consequences in the form of weight-related health problems (co-morbid conditions) and a lower quality of life with fewer economic and social opportunities.
*What causes morbid obesity?
The causes of morbid obesity are multiple and complex. Despite conventional wisdom, it is not simply a result of overeating. Research has shown that, in many cases, significant, underlying causes of morbid obesity are genetic, environmental, and social. Studies have demonstrated that, once the problem is established, efforts such as dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective long-term relief.
*What is a co-morbid condition?
There are two definitions for a co-morbid condition: the presence of one or more disorders or diseases in addition to a primary disorder or disease; or, the presence of a disorder or disease that is caused by or otherwise related to another condition in the same patient. The primary disease of morbid obesity can lead to several co-morbid conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, acid reflux/GERD, depression and cancer.
*What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
BMI is a measure used to index a person's height and weight. BMI allows healthcare professionals and patients to better understand health issues associated with a specific weight classification (classifications such as obesity and morbid obesity).
*How do I know if I qualify for bariatric surgery?
Patients should have:
Other common guidelines include:
Understanding the risks of bariatric surgery
Committing to dietary and other lifestyle changes as recommended by the surgeon
Having a history of weight loss treatments having failed the patient
Undergoing a complete examination including medical tests
*Is bariatric surgery right for me?
Talk with your surgeon about the different surgical treatments, as well as the benefits and risks.
Bariatric surgery is not cosmetic surgery.
Bariatric surgery does not involve the removal of adipose tissue (fat) by suction or surgical removal.
The patient must commit to long-term lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which are key to the success of bariatric surgery.
Problems after surgery are rare, but corrective procedures may be required.
*What are the complications and risks associated with bariatric surgery?
As with any surgery, there are immediate and long-term complications and risks which should be discussed with your surgeon.
*What is the difference between laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery and an open procedure?
Open surgery involves the surgeon creating a long incision to open the abdomen and operating with "traditional" medical instruments. Laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery is an approach that allows the surgeon to perform the same procedure using several small incisions, a fiber-optic camera, video monitor, and long-handled instruments. Learn more about the differences, as well as why your surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive technique but switch to an open one.
*Why would I have an open procedure?
The decision to perform minimally invasive or open surgery is made by your surgeon before the operation. For some patients, the laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, technique cannot be used due to dense scar tissue from prior abdominal surgery. Also, the inability to see organs and/or bleeding during the operation can cause your surgeon to switch from minimally invasive to open surgery during your operation.
*How successful is bariatric surgery?
Studies show that bariatric surgery can effectively improve and resolve many co-morbid conditions. A review of more that 22,000 bariatric surgery patients showed:
Improvement in or complete resolution of conditions including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea
61.2% reduction of excess weight