Bariatric surgery is a highly effective, long-term weight loss solution
for individuals who struggle with obesity and are unsuccessful at losing
weight through diet and exercise. Since obesity has been linked with
serious medical problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease,
stroke, sleep apnea, cancer and more, losing weight can not only prevent
or reverse many of these health risks, it can actually add years to your
life. Patients who are interested in bariatric surgery must be committed
to making lifelong changes in their approach to eating, nutrition,
exercise and other lifestyle behaviors.
Obesity and Treatment Options
What is obesity?
Obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more. The disease of obesity
interferes with basic physical functions, such as breathing or walking
as well as social impacts on one's life. Long-term effects of the
disease include shorter life expectancy, serious health consequences in
the form of weight-related health problems (comorbid conditions) such as
type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and a lower quality of life with
fewer economic and social opportunities.
What causes obesity?
The causes of 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 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 body mass index (BMI)?
BMI is a measure used to index a person’s height and weight. BMI allows
health care professionals and patients to better understand health
issues associated with a specific weight classification (classifications
such as obesity and morbid obesity).
is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a minimally invasive procedure designed to hekp
people lose weight and resolve their health issues.There are several
minimally invasive procedures which alter metabolism to help you lose
weight and regain your health.
Committing to dietary and other lifestyle changes as recommended
by the surgeon
Failing at previous attempts at weight loss
Undergoing a complete examination including medical tests
Is bariatric surgery right for me?
Talk with your surgeon about the different surgical and medical
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
Problems after surgery are rare, but corrective procedures may
If surgery is not right for you we provide a medically managed
weight loss program.
for Bariatric Surgery
Because every insurance policy is
unique, it is important that you thoroughly understand your
Certificate of Coverage to know exactly what is and is not covered
through your plan.
What can I do to prepare for surgery?
Bariatric surgery is like other major abdominal surgery. You can best
prepare by knowing the benefits and risks of surgery, and by closely
following your doctor's instructions. Here are some ways to prepare
Write down your reasons for having bariatric surgery and outline
your plans to maintain your weight loss after surgery.
Start a journal in which you record how you feel now, the
challenges you face, and the things you hope to be able to do
after bariatric surgery.
Attend support groups.
Ask your family and friends for their support. Talk to them
about why you want to have bariatric surgery. It helps to have
people behind you, waiting to help.
What will my life be like after the surgery?
Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix. It’s an ongoing journey toward
transforming your health through lifestyle changes. After surgery, you
will feel satisfied and fuller with less food. Positive changes in your
body, your weight and your health will occur if you maintain the diet
and exercise routines recommended by your bariatric program.
How often will I be able to eat?
After the initial recovery period, most patients are instructed to eat
one-quarter cup, or two ounces, of food per meal. As time goes on,
you can eat more (as instructed by your medical team). Most people can
eat approximately one cup of food per meal (with four ounces of
protein) a year or more post surgery. Please review the Bryn
Mawr Bariatrics Post-Op Handbook for more healthy diet
When can I go back to my normal activity level?
Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity depends on your
physical condition, the nature of the activity and the type of bariatric
surgery you had. Many patients return to normal levels of activity
within three to six weeks of surgery.
How much exercise is needed after bariatric surgery?
Exercise is an important part of success after surgery. You may be
encouraged to begin exercising, limited only by discomfort, about two
weeks after surgery. The type of exercise depends on your overall
condition, but the long-term goal is to get 30 minutes of exercise three
or more days each week.
Is there any difficulty in taking medications?
Most pills or capsules are small enough to pass through the new stomach
pouch. At first, your doctor may suggest that medications be taken in
crushed or liquid form. As a general rule, ask your surgeon before
taking any medication.
What is the long-term follow-up schedule?
Band patients need to work with their surgeons to have their band
adjusted several times during the first 12 to 18 months after surgery.
Bypass patients typically see their surgeons for three to five follow-up
appointments the first year, then once per year thereafter. Over time,
gastric bypass patients will need regular checks for anemia (low red
blood cell count) and vitamin B12, folate and iron levels.
How can I find a support group?
Support groups give patients an excellent opportunity to talk about
personal issues. Most patients learn, for example, that bariatric
surgery will not resolve personal relationship issues. Most bariatric
surgeons will tell you that ongoing support after surgery helps to
achieve the greatest level of success for their patients. Patients help
keep each other motivated, celebrate small victories together and
provide perspective on the everyday successes and challenges that
patients generally experience.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.