Bariatric Surgery: The What, The Why, Who Needs It?

Jun 14 2018

Bariatric Surgery: The What, The Why, Who Needs It?

Bariatric surgery reduces the size of your stomach so that less food is absorbed. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), you must have a body mass index  (BMI) of at least 40, or be more than 100 pounds overweight to qualify for this surgery.

Bariatric surgery can also be an option for those with a BMI of at least 35 and two obesity-related health problems such as type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, or heart disease. In addition, you must have failed other methods of weight loss. This surgery should not be the first option or attempt at weight loss.


bariatric surgery



Bariatric Surgery: What Is It?

There are different types of bariatric surgery. One is the gastric band which uses a band to tie off part of the stomach. Another method is the sleeve gastrectomy which removes a portion of the stomach.  And a third surgical method is the gastric bypass which reconnects part of the stomach to the small intestine so that food does not go through the entire normal length of the stomach.


Bariatric Surgery: Guidelines And Risks

Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries are major, life-changing procedures. While weight-loss surgery can help reduce your risk of weight-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and sleep apnea,  it can also pose major risks and complications. You may need to meet certain medical guidelines to qualify for weight-loss surgery. There is an extensive screening process to see if you qualify.

In general, gastric bypass or another weight-loss surgery could be an option for you if:

  • Efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful
  • Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher
  • Your BMI is 35 or more and you have a serious weight-related health problem
  • You’re a teenager with a BMI of 35 or more, and you suffer from type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea


Bariatric Surgery: Candidate Evaluation

Even if you meet these general guidelines, there still is an extensive screening process to go through.

A team of health professionals evaluates if gastric surgery is appropriate for you. This evaluation determines if the health benefits of the surgery outweigh the potentially serious risks, and if you’re medically ready to undergo the procedure.

The evaluation also determines if you’re psychologically ready to handle this surgery. The procedure may increase certain risks in people with existing mental health conditions.

For example, recent studies have identified an increased risk of suicide in people who have had weight-loss surgery. This risk is greatest in those who have attempted suicide in the past. More research is needed to understand whether changes related to the surgery itself play a role in increasing suicide risk.

A history of suicidal thoughts or attempts does not necessarily mean bariatric surgery should be avoided. But the health care team carefully evaluates your history and plans for close monitoring and support before and after the surgery.


Bariatric Surgery: How To Make The Decision

The health care team considers the following variables:

  • Medical conditions
  • psychological conditions
  • nutrition and weight history
  • motivation
  • your age


Bariatric Surgery: Post Op Care Is Critically Important

Post op care is very important following bariatric surgery. The Grand Health Care and Rehabilitation Center provides skilled, compassionate, and experienced nursing care to post op bariatric patients. Give us a call ( 718 215-6000 ) to schedule your tour.

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Barry G

Barry graduated from City University of New York and holds a Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology.

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