When Should You Get Weight Loss Surgery?

Are you struggling with your weight and considering whether weight loss surgery is a potential solution? While it’s not suitable for everyone, weight loss surgery β€” also known as bariatric surgery β€” can be an effective tool to support healthy weight loss, as long as you’re committed to making the necessary lifestyle changes.

We reached out to Dr Paipilla, a board-certified bariatric surgeon who works with Be Slim Bariatrics, a company facilitating weight loss surgery in Mexico, to find out what you need to know about bariatric surgery.

Am I Eligible for Weight Loss Surgery?

You do not have to be morbidly overweight to be a suitable candidate for weight loss surgery. You are eligible for bariatric surgery if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or over. You may also qualify if you have a lower BMI and health issues related to obesity, such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or diabetes. Even if you are just a size 14, you may have a BMI high enough to qualify for bariatric surgery.

The CDC Adult BMI calculator can be used to calculate your BMI and is a good place to start if you want to find out if you are eligible for weight loss surgery.

What Lifestyle Changes Do I Need to Commit To?

Bariatric surgery helps you to eat less by reducing the size of your stomach, which means you need less food to feel full. There is no doubt it can make it easier to lose weight and can be an effective tool to help you live a healthier and happier life.

But it’s important to accept that certain permanent lifestyle changes are necessary to be successful. You should only proceed with weight loss surgery when you are fully committed to following a nutritional program and making time to do regular exercise after your procedure.

Does It Matter If I Smoke or Vape?

If you’re a smoker or if you vape, you are at a much higher risk of post-op complications, including impaired lung and heart function, blood clots, infections, and poor wound healing. Smokers also have a higher risk of developing ulcers (sores) at the site of anastomosis (the surgical connection) between two parts of the body and excessive bleeding during or after the procedure.

So smoking, vaping, or using nicotine products, such as nicotine gum, in the one month before weight loss surgery is an absolute no-no. Smoking after surgery is also extremely dangerous and could result in life-threatening infections due to delayed wound healing or blood clots.

Will I Have to Reduce My Alcohol Consumption?

Before and after your surgery, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and well-being, including limiting alcohol consumption. You will need to abstain from alcohol for at least  one month before your operation, and it is strongly recommended you cut down on drinking leading up to your weight loss surgery.

Alcohol can impact blood clotting, making you more susceptible to surgical and post-op complications. Drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery can also lead to slower wound healing and recovery and increase the risk of infection.

So, when considering whether you are ready to get bariatric surgery, think about your drinking habits. The CDC has some great resources to help you monitor your drinking and cut back if necessary.

A Few Final Thoughts about Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix. It requires a long-term commitment to healthy lifestyle changes, including diet and regular exercise.

If you’re unwilling to make these changes, weight loss surgery may not be the right choice for you. But if you are ready, bariatric surgery can assist you to lose weight and keep it off.

It all depends on how much you want to become healthier and transform the way you live your life.

Syed Qasim

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