Considering Weight Loss Surgery? Ask Yourself These Important Questions

Here are some essential questions you should ask yourself before you decide on weight-loss surgery.

Do I really need surgery to lose weight?

The first question you should ask yourself is if weight-loss surgery is the final answer left to you, or if you should look for a different option.

Surgery is only rarely ever the sole option for morbidly obese people. In fact, most physicians would agree that a good diet and exercise plan would be much safer than surgery. Before choosing surgery, you should try to lose weight naturally, through a good nutrition plan and exercise.

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Am I a good candidate for weight-loss surgery?

Most bariatric surgeons use the following criteria to determine whether a person is a good candidate for weight-loss surgery:

• You are severely obese with a body mass index (BMI) over 40.

• You have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight through non-surgical means

• Your weight is affecting your daily life and relationships

• You understand the procedure, and realize the risks that are associated with bariatric surgery

What are the risks of weight-loss surgery?

All types of surgery carry some level of risk, including bariatric surgery. Even though many weight loss surgeries use laparoscopic techniques, which are considered minimally invasive, there is always the potential for complications. Talk to your doctor about this issue during your initial consultation.

How much will this surgery cost?

Bariatric surgery can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000. Clearly, you will have financial considerations as well as medical issues to think over before you make your decision. You should talk to your insurance provider to see if they cover the type of bariatric surgery you are considering.

How do I find a qualified bariatric surgeon?

When you do your initial research for a bariatric surgeon, you should first check to see how much experience he or she has performing the type of surgery that you want. It's a good idea to see how many of these surgeries this surgeon has performed. Most states require surgeons to provide potential patients with their surgical history, success rates, and other information.

A good weight loss surgeon will establish a post-surgery follow-up plan for you, which can help you through the process and will monitor your progress.

What should I do to prepare for weight loss surgery?

This is one of the most common questions people ask when they've made the decision to have bariatric surgery. Keep in mind that the preparation isn't limited to medical issues - you also have to be ready to deal mentally with the life-altering changes that will happen to your body.

What happens during the post-surgery phase?

Clearly, your life will change drastically after weight loss surgery. For one thing, you will be eating far less, and you won't be as hungry as you used to be.

While dietary changes are an important post-surgery issue, there are other considerations, too. Learn as much as you can about the typical recovery process for the type of surgery you have chosen, so that you will know what you can expect.

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