Gastric bypass surgery is a weight loss procedure that involves making changes to your digestive system, limiting the amount of food you can eat and reducing the absorption of nutrients from your food. This surgery is only recommended for individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with one or more obesity-related health conditions. However, there are several other factors that come into play when determining whether a candidate is qualified for gastric bypass surgery.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a medical condition characterized by excessive body fat that has a negative impact on health. It is usually defined by a person’s body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, and a BMI of 40 or higher is considered morbidly obese. Obesity can lead to a range of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, among others.
What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Gastric bypass surgery is a surgical procedure that helps individuals with severe obesity lose weight by reducing the size of their stomach and rerouting the digestive system. This surgery limits the amount of food that can be eaten, as well as the amount of nutrients that can be absorbed from food. Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery typically lose a significant amount of weight and experience improved health outcomes.
What Are the Qualifications for Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Body Mass Index (BMI)
As mentioned earlier, gastric bypass surgery is typically recommended for individuals with a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with one or more obesity-related health conditions. If you are considering gastric bypass surgery, your doctor will calculate your BMI to determine whether you meet this qualification.
Gastric bypass surgery is generally not recommended for individuals under the age of 18, as their bodies are still developing. However, in some cases, this surgery may be recommended for adolescents who are severely obese and have not responded to other weight loss methods.
If you have obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea, you may qualify for gastric bypass surgery with a lower BMI. Your doctor will consider your medical history, current medications, and overall health when determining whether you are a candidate for this surgery.
Weight Loss Attempts
Gastric bypass surgery is generally recommended for individuals who have tried and failed to lose weight through other methods such as diet and exercise. Your doctor may require you to participate in a weight loss program before recommending gastric bypass surgery.
What Are the Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Like any surgery, gastric bypass surgery carries risks. Some possible complications include:
- Internal bleeding
- Blood clots
- Leakage from the new connection between the stomach and the small intestine
- Wound infections
- Death (very rare)
Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of gastric bypass surgery with you before recommending this procedure.
What Should I Expect After Gastric Bypass Surgery?
After gastric bypass surgery, you will need to make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle. You will be on a liquid diet for a few days, then slowly progress to soft foods and finally solid foods. You will need to eat small portions and avoid high-calorie and high-fat foods. You will also need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need.
Physical activity will also be an important part of your weight loss journey after gastric bypass surgery. Your doctor will recommend regular exercise to help you maintain your weight loss and improve your overall health.
Gastric bypass surgery is a weight loss procedure that can be life-changing for individuals who have struggled to lose weight through other methods. However, it is not a quick fix or an easy solution. If you are considering gastric bypass surgery, it is important to talk to your doctor and consider all the risks and benefits of this procedure.
Common Questions and Answers
- Q: Is gastric bypass surgery covered by insurance?
- A: Some insurance plans may cover gastric bypass surgery, but this varies by provider and plan. You should check with your insurance provider to see if this surgery is covered.
- Q: How much weight will I lose after gastric bypass surgery?
- A: This depends on several factors, including your starting weight, your diet and exercise habits, and your overall health. Most patients lose a significant amount of weight after gastric bypass surgery, but individual results may vary.
- Q: Can I have gastric bypass surgery if I have had previous abdominal surgery?
- A: It depends on the type of surgery you had and how long it has been since the surgery. You will need to discuss this with your doctor to determine if gastric bypass surgery is a safe option for you.
- Mayo Clinic. (2021, February 6). Gastric Bypass Surgery. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/gastric-bypass-surgery/about/pac-20385189
- NHS. (2018, October 23). Gastric Band and Gastric Bypass. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gastric-band-and-gastric-bypass/
- WebMD. (2020, March 10). Gastric Bypass Surgery. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/gastric-bypass-bariatric-surgery