Is Weight Loss Surgery For Me?
Obesity is a prevalent problem in the United States. Roughly one out of every three Americans are considered obese, with over 18 million qualifying as "morbidly obese.
Bariatric surgery can help improve the overall health, lifespan, and happiness of individuals suffering from obesity. The decision to pursue this treatment option is often not an easy one and can be overwhelming. There are six questions you should explore before you decide that surgery is a viable treatment for you. They are as follows:
- Do you qualify as obese?
- Have you explored other treatments?
- Are you able to pay for the procedure?
- Are your expectations of life after surgery grounded in reality?
- Have you been cleared by a medical professional?
- Do you have an adequate support network?
- You have a BMI of 40or more, which is defined as "morbidly obese", or
- Your BMI is between 35 – 40 AND you suffer from a serious health problem related to obesity
Financing is a very important consideration when determining whether a surgical procedure is right for you. Surgical procedures such as the gastric sleeve can be very costly in the United States, running as high as $30,000.00.
Insurance companies may not always cover the full costs of the procedure and there are numerous hoops to jump through in order to become eligible for benefits. You may have to consider alternative options such as borrowing the money, or utilizing money from your own personal savings.
Alternatively, you could elect to have the surgery performed abroad. The cost of the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy VSG surgery in Mexico for instance, will only cost a little over $5,000, which is a much more manageable expense should your insurance provider elect not to pay for the procedure. Surgery in Mexico, or elsewhere may be a more budget friendly alternative.
While a patient can expect to lose between 25%-80+% of their excess weight following the procedure, it is important to understand that results do not happen overnight. Expectations surrounding life after surgery must be realistic.
Here's what to expect after surgery:
- Health issues related to obesity will either disappear entirely, or be greatly improved.
- If you are a woman, your fertility chances will increase and pregnancy will be much safer following surgery.
- Your mood and energy levels will receive a boost.
- While the associated mortality rate is very low (0.135%), it is not completely without risk. It is important to know the complications that can arise following procedures like Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy VSG.
- It may take up to 1-3 years for you to reach your ultimate weight loss goal.
- While cravings for unhealthy foods will be reduced, they may not disappear entirely and you will need to make dietary adjustments for the rest of your life.
- You will need to add exercise to your regular routine.
- You will be expected to routinely follow up with your physician in order to ensure you stay healthy.
Your physician will consider many factors in determining whether you are healthy enough to have the surgery, such as:
- Your age- surgery is ideal for patients between 18 and 65 years old. If you are over the age of 50 your physician will need to provide cardiac clearance.
- You do not suffer from medical conditions that will put you at risk during surgery.
- You are not currently taking medications that could complicate your surgery.
- You are not addicted to substances.
- You are emotionally fit to handle the surgery and the subsequent changes to your body.
A stable support network both before and after your surgery is vital to your success.
Your family and friends will need to take your new healthier way of life into consideration. For example, the groceries you keep in your home may need to be modified to help ensure your continued success. Your family and friends will need to keep your diet in mind when selecting restaurants. You may find that you want or need an exercise companion.
It may also be helpful to address how your partner or friends will react to the new attention you may begin to attract following your surgery. Jealousy can complicate many relationships and it is prudent to avoid it.
Surgery can be a beacon of hope to those that are suffering from obesity. The benefits are numerous and a healthier lifestyle is both exciting and fruitful. After you have thoroughly examined whether or not weight loss surgery is the appropriate solution, you will be on your way to selecting your better self.